Differential expression of tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA in the developing rat mesencephalon

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11 Scopus citations


1. With respect to the mesostriatal projection, the mesencephalon is composed of two dopaminergic (DA) cell populations, called dorsal tier and ventral tier. Strong evidence suggests differences in both the spatial and the temporal sequence of the innervation of the striatum between the two groups, with the ventral tier neurons innervating striatal patches prenatally and dorsal tier cells innervating striatal matrix postnatally. 2. Using in situ hybridization, we have examined the expression of the gene coding for tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in mesencephalic DA neurons with respect to their postnatal development. Two ontogenic patterns of expression were observed: (a) dorsal tier neurons of the medial mesencephalon exhibited a sharp increase in expression beginning after birth, peaking on day 14, then decreasing and, finally, stabilizing; and (b) ventral tier neurons and dorsal tier cells from the lateral and the medial-dorsal mesencephalon showed only a slight increase in TH mRNA, reaching a plateau at P10. 3. The time course of the observed increase in TH gene expression in the first group, generally parallels the innervation of their target cells in the striatal matrix, suggesting that TH gene expression in these cells may be influenced by their postsynaptic cells or by the innervation process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-580
Number of pages12
JournalCellular and Molecular Neurobiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 1992


  • dopamine
  • mesencephalon
  • substantia nigra
  • tyrosine hydroxylase
  • ventral tegmental area

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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