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Eur J Neurosci. 1992;4(4):376-380.

Striatal c-fos Induction by Cocaine or Apomorphine Occurs Preferentially in Output Neurons Projecting to the Substantia Nigra in the Rat.

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Department of Medical Cell Research, University of Lund, Biskopsgatan 5, S-223 62 Lund, Sweden.


Fluorogold or rhodamine-labelled latex beads were injected in the substantia nigra (SN) or the globus pallidus (GP) in order retrogradely to label striatal output neurons that project to the two target structures. Ten days later, striatal c-fos was induced by systemic administration of cocaine (five normal rats; 25 mg/kg cocaine i.p. 2 h before killing) or apomorphine (five unilaterally dopamine-denervated rats; 0.25 mg/kg apomorphine s. c. 2 h before killing), and detection of the Fos protein in the striatum was achieved by immunofluorescence. Sections through the caudate-putamen that displayed good labelling from both SN and GP were selected for a quantitative analysis: the number of retrogradely labelled cells that exhibited Fos immunoreactivity, as well as the total number of retrogradely labelled cells located within a grid (0.16 mm2 in size) were counted manually at 25 x magnification. Cocaine induced a proportionally higher c-fos expression in striato-nigral compared to striato-pallidal neurons, whereas apomorphine activated Fos almost exclusively in striato-nigral neurons. The present findings are consistent with the idea that striatal c-fos induction by dopaminergic agents is primarily mediated by an interaction with D1-receptors, which are thought to be selectively localized on neurons projecting to SN.

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