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J Comp Neurol. 1993 Nov 22;337(4):640-54.

Distribution of aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase mRNA in mouse brain by in situ hybridization histology.

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Department of Pharmacology, Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus 43210.


Aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (AAAD) is the second enzyme in the sequence leading to the synthesis of catecholamines or serotonin. Antisense riboprobes for aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase mRNA were used to map the gene in mouse brain by in situ hybridization. The substantia nigra, the ventral tegmental nucleus, the dorsal raphe nucleus, the locus coeruleus, and the olfactory bulb contained the highest signal for AAAD mRNA. After treatment with the dopaminergic neurotoxin 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP), the signal disappeared in the substantia nigra, decreased somewhat in the ventral tegmental area, and remained unchanged in the dorsal raphe nucleus. Hypothalamic and cerebellar Purkinje neurons known to contain histidine decarboxylase or glutamic acid decarboxylase, respectively, were unlabeled by the probes. However, neurons in the deep layers of the frontal cortex, many thalamic nuclei, and the pyramidal neurons of the hippocampus were lightly to moderately labeled for mouse AAAD mRNA. The presence of AAAD message in these neurons suggests that the enzyme has functions other than that for the synthesis of the classical biogenic amine neurotransmitters.

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