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Front Syst Neurosci. 2011 Jun 6;5:41. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2011.00041. eCollection 2011.

Distribution of tyrosine hydroxylase-expressing interneurons with respect to anatomical organization of the neostriatum.

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Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Newark, NJ, USA.


We have recently shown in vitro that striatal tyrosine hydroxylase-expressing interneurons identified in transgenic mice by expression of enhanced green fluorescent protein (TH-eGFP) display electrophysiological profiles that are distinct from those of other striatal interneurons. Furthermore, striatal TH-eGFP interneurons show marked diversity in their electrophysiological properties and have been divided into four distinct subtypes. One question that arises from these observations is whether striatal TH-eGFP interneurons are distributed randomly, or obey some sort of organizational plan as has been shown to be the case with other striatal interneurons. An understanding of the striatal TH-eGFP interneuronal patterning is a vital step in understanding the role of these neurons in striatal functioning. Therefore, in the present set of studies the location of electrophysiologically identified striatal TH-eGFP interneurons was mapped. In addition, the distribution of TH-eGFP interneurons with respect to the striatal striosome-matrix compartmental organization was determined using μ-opioid receptor (MOR) immunofluorescence or intrinsic TH-eGFP fluorescence to delineate striosome and matrix compartments. Overall, the distribution of the different TH-eGFP interneuronal subtypes did not differ in dorsal versus ventral striatum. However, striatal TH-eGFP interneurons were found to be mostly in the matrix in the dorsal striatum whereas a significantly higher proportion of these neurons was located in MOR-enriched domains of the ventral striatum. Further, the majority of striatal TH-eGFP interneurons was found to be located within 100 μm of a striosome-matrix boundary. Taken together, the current results suggest that TH-eGFP interneurons obey different organizational principles in dorsal versus ventral striatum, and may play a role in communication between striatal striosome and matrix compartments.


GABAergic; dopamine island; matrix; striatum; striosome

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