Neuropeptide and Dopamine Receptor Gene Expression in the Human Caudate-Putamen
The mature human caudate-putamen is a neurochemically diverse structure (Graybiel 1990) comprising some 400 million cells of which approximately 82 × 106 are small striatal (Heinsen et al., 1994) projection neurones. The chemical diversity of these structures is paralleled by the complex array of morphological cell types so far identified (Dimova et al., 1980). Following the advent of non-invasive in vivo human brain imaging with sufficient resolution to allow discrete anatomical nuclei to be spatially resolved, credence has been given to the idea that the basal ganglia comprise several functionally segregated circuits (Alexander and Crutcher 1990) of which the motor circuits play a role in facilitating motor learning, planning and attention whether imagined, self-initiated or cued (see Brooks 1995; Robbins and Brown, 1990). Afferents from the supplementary motor area and primary motor cortex preferentially impinge upon cells within the putamen whilst the dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex impinges upon cells within the caudate nucleus (Alexander and Crutcher, 1990). A further degree of complexity is introduced when considering the compartmentalization of various neuroactive molecules within the mammalian neostriatum (see Graybiel 1990). At least three neurochemically demarcated compartments have been described termed (i) striosome/patch, (ii) matrix, which comprises some 80% of striatal volume: (Johnston et al., 1990) and (iii) annulus (Faull et al., 1989). Although the matrix stains uniformly for many neuroactive agents, the classical enzyme stain being acetylcholinesterase (Graybiel and Ragsdale, 1978), modular “non-striosomal” projection zones within this compartment have been described (Malach and Graybiel, 1986), consistent with the idea of discrete somatotopic cortical signalling and parallel processing.
KeywordsCaudate Nucleus Quinolinic Acid Disease Collaborative Research Group Dopamine Receptor Gene Expression Facilitate Motor Learning
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