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Synapse. 2013 Sep;67(9):580-5. doi: 10.1002/syn.21662. Epub 2013 Apr 18.

Coordinated expression of dopamine transporter and vesicular monoamine transporter in the primate striatum during development.

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Neuropsychopharmacology Research Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06511, USA.


Several addictive or neurotoxic drugs are dependent on the dopamine transporter (DAT) and/or vesicular monoamine transporter (VMAT2) to exert their detrimental effects on dopamine neurons. For example, methamphetamine and MPTP are substrates for both DAT and VMAT2, with the ratio of DAT to VMAT2 in striatum being a determinant of the degree of toxicity inflicted by these drugs on dopamine neurons. Thus, the susceptibility of dopamine neurons to agents whose pharmacology involves DAT and VMAT2 may vary during development if the ontogeny of DAT and VMAT2 differs, and this is relevant as exposure of dopamine neurons to toxic agents during development is hypothesized to underlie some neurological or psychiatric disorders. However, the relative expression of DAT and VMAT2 has not been studied in either primate or nonprimate fetal brain, and this was addressed in the present study by measuring the binding of specific radioligands of DAT and VMAT2 to striatal membranes from nonhuman primates at mid-gestation, late-gestation, and the postnatal and adult periods. Dopamine concentration was also determined in striatal tissue from the same brains. These data indicate that in striatum of primates, unlike rodents, there is a sharp increase in DAT and VMAT2 expression after mid-gestation, with adult levels being attained at the time of birth. In addition, this study demonstrated that there is a coordinated expression of DAT and VMAT2 from the time of mid-gestation to adulthood.


MPTP; Parkinson's disease; drug abuse; monkey; ontogeny

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