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Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 1999 Jan 8;63(2):287-96.

Expression of glutamate receptor subunit/subtype messenger RNAS for NMDAR1, GLuR1, GLuR2 and mGLuR5 by accumbal projection neurons.

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Graduate Program in Pharmacology/Toxicology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164, USA.


Nucleus accumbens neurons are the targets of glutamatergic inputs. By coupling in situ hybridization for glutamate receptor mRNAs with retrograde transport of Fluoro-Gold, the present study examined the relationship between the distribution patterns of glutamate receptor subtypes/subunits and the output pathways of the nucleus accumbens to the ventral pallidum and ventral tegmental area. Following iontophoretic deposits of Fluoro-Gold into the ventral pallidum, neurons in both the nucleus accumbens shell and core were retrogradely labeled. A high percentage of accumbens neurons retrogradely labeled from the ventral pallidum were double-labeled for mRNAs encoding for mGluR5 (82+/-4.1%), NMDAR1 (71+/-3.5%), GluR1 (70+/-6.1%) and GluR2 (76+/-3.6%). No significant difference in the proportion of double-labeled neurons between the core and shell was observed. Following the deposit of Fluoro-Gold into the ventral tegmental area, only the accumbens shell neurons were retrogradely labeled. The proportion of neurons expressing NMDAR1, GluR1 and GluR2 were somewhat less in the projection to the ventral tegmental area compared to the ventral pallidum since approximately 60% of the neurons retrogradely-labeled from the ventral tegmental area expressed these transcripts. In contrast to the high proportion of mGluR5-containing neurons in the nucleus accumbens innervating the ventral pallidum, only half of the neurons projecting to the ventral tegmental area expressed mGluR5. These data show that accumbens neurons innervating the ventral pallidum and ventral tegmental area differ in the relative proportion of expressed mRNA encoding mGluR5, implying differential postsynaptic impact by glutamate transmission on neurons contributing to the two major efferent pathways of the nucleus accumbens.

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