Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Dopamine is one of the principal neurotransmitters in the basal ganglia, where it plays a critical role in motor control and cognitive function through its interactions with the specific dopamine receptors D1 to D5. Although the activities mediated by most dopamine receptor subtypes have already been determined, the role of the D5 receptor subtype in the basal ganglia has still not been established. Furthermore, it is often difficult to distinguish between dopamine D5 and D1 receptors as they are stimulated by the same ligands, and they have a similar molecular structure and pharmacology. In an effort to understand the differences between these two receptor subtypes, we have studied the distribution of neurons containing D5 receptors in the striatum, and their molecular phenotype. As a result, we show that the D5 receptor subtype is present in two different populations of striatal neurons, projection neurons and interneurons. Overall, the abundance of this receptor subtype in the striatum is low, particularly in striatal projection neurons of both the direct and indirect projection pathways. In contrast, the expression of D5 receptors in striatal interneurons (cholinergic, somatostatin- or parvalbumin-positive neurons) is high, while low to moderate expression was observed in calretinin-positive neurons. Our results demonstrate the presence of D5 receptors in all the striatal cell populations so far described, although at different intensities in each. The fact that a large number of striatal neurons express the D5 receptor subtype suggests that this receptor fulfils an important function in the process of integrating information in the striatum.
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