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J Comp Neurol. 1996 May 20;369(1):137-49.

Distribution and neurochemical character of substance P receptor (SPR)-immunoreactive striatal neurons of the macaque monkey: accumulation of SP fibers and SPR neurons and dendrites in "striocapsules" encircling striosomes.

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Section of Neurobiology, Yale University, School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06510, USA.


The striatal distribution of the substance P receptor (SPR) protein was examined in relation to its ligand, the neuro-peptide SP, as well as to the neurochemical and compartmental composition of the neostriatum in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) in immunohistochemical experiments. About 2% of striatal neurons, displaying varicose, virtually spine-free dendrites characteristic of large and medium-sized aspiny interneurons, expressed SPR immunoreactivity. SPR/choline acetyltransferase, SPR/somatostatin, SPR/GABA, SPR/calbindin D28k, and SPR/parvalbumin double immunolabeling experiments demonstrated that SPR-positive cells are either cholinergic or somatostatinergic. Comparison of SP and SPR immunoreactivities in double-labeled and adjacent single-labeled sections revealed compartment-specific match and mismatch between the densities of the peptide and receptor. A matching high density of SP fibers and SPR cells and dendrites was only observed in the rim of the striosome compartments. To our knowledge, this is the first evidence for an anatomical border comprised of dendritic processes that separate striatal compartments. We have termed these zones "striocapsules," because they encircle and encapsulate striosomal cell islands. In the striatal matrix, an abundance of SPR-labeled profiles was complemented with light SP staining. By contrast, in the core of the striosomes, SPR labeling was sparse and SP staining intense. SP-positive axon-like puncta frequently contacted SPR-positive dendrites in all striatal compartments. The SP receptor/ligand match indicates a sharp increase in the efficacy of SP action in the striocapsules, and suggests that the influence of SP might be heightened in this striatal subcompartment.

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