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Neuroscience. 1991;40(3):657-71.

Distribution of dopaminergic receptors in the primate cerebral cortex: quantitative autoradiographic analysis using [3H]raclopride, [3H]spiperone and [3H]SCH23390.

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Yale University, School of Medicine, Section of Neuroanatomy, New Haven, CT 06510.


A widespread distribution of dopamine D1 receptors in the neocortex is well recognized. However, the presence of dopamine D2 receptors in this structure has only recently been established [Martres et al. (1985) Eur. J. Pharmac. 118, 211-219; Lidow et al. (1989) Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 86, 6412-6416]. In the present paper, a highly specific antagonist, [3H]raclopride, was used for autoradiographic determination of the distribution of D2 receptors in 12 cytoarchitectonic areas of the frontal, parietal, and occipital lobes of the rhesus monkey. A low density of D2-specific [3H]raclopride binding (1.5-4.0 fmol/mg tissue) was detected in all layers of all cortical areas studied. Throughout the entire cortex, the highest density of binding was consistently found in layer V. This is a unique distribution not observed so far for any other neurotransmitter receptor subtype in monkey cerebral cortex, including D1 receptor. In addition, a comparison was made of the distribution of [3H]raclopride and [3H]spiperone, which has been commonly used in previous attempts to label cortical D2 receptors. We found marked differences in the distribution of these two radioligands. In the prefrontal cortex, the pattern of [3H]spiperone binding in the presence of ketanserin resembled the combined distribution of 5-HT1C serotoninergic and alpha 2-adrenergic sites as well as D2 receptors. Thus, [3H]raclopride provides a better estimation of the D2 receptor distribution than does [3H]spiperone. The distribution of D2-specific binding of [3H]raclopride was also compared with the D1-specific binding of [3H]SCH23390 in the presence of mianserin to block labeling to 5-HT2 and 5-HT1C sites. The density of D1-specific [3H]SCH23390 binding was 10-20 times higher than that of D2-specific [3H]raclopride binding throughout the cortex. The densities of both [3H]raclopride and [3H]SCH23390 binding sites display a rostral-caudal gradient with the highest concentrations in prefrontal and the lowest concentrations in the occipital cortex. However, the binding sites of these two ligands had different laminar distributions in all areas examined. In contrast to preferential [3H]raclopride binding in layer V, a bilaminar pattern of [3H]SCH23390 labeling was observed in most cytoarchitectonic areas, with the highest concentrations in supragranular layers I, II and IIIa and infragranular layers V and VI. Whereas [3H]raclopride binding was similar in all cytoarchitectonic areas, [3H]SCH23390 exhibited some region-specific variations in the primary visual and motor cortex. The different regional and laminar distributions of D1 and D2 dopaminergic receptors indicates that they may subserve different aspects of dopamine function in the cerebral cortex.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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