Regional differences in the vulnerability of substantia nigra dopaminergic neurons in weaver mice

Joaquín Martí, María C. Santa-Cruz, Vanessa Molina, Roger Serra, Shirley A. Bayer, Bernardino Ghetti, José P. Hervás

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Vulnerability of midbrain dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the weaver mouse was studied at postnatal (P) days 8 and 90, in chosen coronal levels throughout the anteroposterior (AP) extent of the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc). Wild-type (+/+) and homozygous weaver (wv/wv) mice used were the offspring of pregnant dams injected in several cases with tritiated thymidine on embryonic days 11-15. DA neurons were identified for their tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactivity. Data reveal that at P8, the frequency of both +/+ and wv/wv late-generated DA cells increases from rostral to caudal SNc. No apparent DA-cell loss was observed at P8 in the mutant genotype, irrespective of the AP level considered. However, throughout the AP, there was a significant reduction in the number of these neurons at any level in 90-day-old weavers. Comparison of P8 and P90 +/+ SNc suggests that cell death is not a major aspect in the developmental regulation of normal DA neurons, although numerical cell depletion in the postnatal development of weaver SNc probably results from the amplification of a basal cell-death process, which affected all the coronal levels studied. © 2009 by Polish Neuroscience Society - PTBUN, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-206
JournalActa Neurobiologiae Experimentalis
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2009


  • Autoradiography
  • Dopaminergic neurons
  • Homozygous weaver mice
  • Substantia nigra pars compacta
  • Tritiated thymidine
  • Tyrosine hydroxylase


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