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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Dendritic projections and dye-coupling in dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra examined in horizontal brain slices from young rats.

We examined the rostro-caudal dendritic spread of striatally projecting dopaminergic neurons of the Substantia Nigra pars compacta (SNc) and investigated the presence of dye-coupling after labeling these cells with a mixture of lucifer yellow (LY) and neurobiotin (NB) or with LY alone. Whole cell recordings were made from horizontal brain slices (400 microm) obtained from P5-P20 rats. SNc neurons retrogradely labeled with Fluoro-Gold and located in the region containing tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive cells displayed Ih current and other properties characteristic of SNc neurons. To prevent extracellular leakage, dyes were introduced into patch pipettes after the establishment of whole cell configuration, and cells were filled under visual control. In contrast to previous studies conducted in coronal sections that identified dendritic projections of SNc neurons mainly in the medio-lateral and ventral directions, almost all neurons labeled in our study (53/54) additionally displayed a large rostro-caudal dendritic span (649 +/- 219 microm). Dye-coupling between SNc neurons was not observed under basal conditions, in the presence of gap junction "openers" (forskolin, trimethylamine), or after neurons were filled with LY using sharp intracellular microelectrodes. As a "positive control," dye-coupling was demonstrated in four hippocampal dentate gyrus neurons that were filled using the same patch pipette technique. In addition, none of the tested SNc cells (n = 12) showed expression of connexin 36 (the "neuronal" connexin) when tested with single-cell RT-PCR. In conclusion, this study revealed extensive rostro-caudal dendritic projections of SNc neurons. Under our in vitro conditions, no evidence was found for dye-coupling among these neurons.[1]


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