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J Clin Invest. 2009 Jun;119(6):1455-8.

Infantile parkinsonism-dystonia: a dopamine "transportopathy".

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Cellular Neurology Unit, Neurogenetics Branch, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


The dopamine transporter (DAT) retrieves the neurotransmitter dopamine from the synaptic cleft at dopaminergic synapses. Variations in solute carrier family 6A, member 3 (SLC6A3/DAT1), the human gene encoding DAT, have been implicated in attention deficit hyperactivity and bipolar disorders, and DAT is a prominent site of action for drugs such as amphetamines and cocaine. In this issue of the JCI, Kurian et al. report that an autosomal recessive infantile parkinsonism-dystonia is caused by loss-of-function mutations in DAT that impair dopamine reuptake (see the related article beginning on page 1595). Though this might be predicted to result in dopamine excess in the synaptic cleft, it likely also causes depletion of presynaptic dopamine stores and possibly downregulation of postsynaptic dopamine receptor function, resulting in impairments in dopaminergic neurotransmission consistent with the clinical presentation. This is the first report of a genetic alteration in DAT function underlying a parkinsonian disorder.

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