Dynamic expression of tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA and protein in neurons of the striatum and amygdala of mice, and experimental evidence of their multiple embryonic origin
Vicario Andrade, Alba
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Emotional and motivational dysfunctions observed in Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, and drug addiction are associated to an alteration of the mesocortical and mesolimbic dopaminergic pathways, which include axons projecting to the prefrontal cortex, the ventral striatum, and the amygdala. Subpopulations of catecholaminergic neurons have been described in the cortex and striatum of several mammals, but the presence of such cells in the adult amygdala is unclear in murine rodents, and in other rodents appears to show variations depending on the species. Moreover, the embryonic origin of telencephalic tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) cells is unknown, which is essential for trying to understand aspects of their evolution, distribution and function. Herein we investigated the expression of TH mRNA and protein in cells of the striatum and amygdala of developing and adult mice, and analyzed the embryonic origin of such cells using in vitro migration assays. Our results showed the presence of TH mRNA and protein expressing cells in the striatum (including nucleus accumbens), central and medial extended amygdala during development, which are persistent in adulthood although they are less numerous, generally show weak mRNA expression, and some appear to lack the protein. Fate mapping analysis showed that these cells include at least two subpopulations with different embryonic origin in either the commissural preoptic area of the subpallium or the supraopto-paraventricular domain of the alar hypothalamus. These data are important for future studies trying to understand the role of catecholamines in modulation of emotion, motivation, and reward.