Dystonia: Sparse Synapses for D2 Receptors in Striatum of a DYT1 Knock-out Mouse Model

Vincenza D'Angelo, Emanuela Paldino, Silvia Cardarelli, Roberto Sorge, Francesca Romana Fusco, Stefano Biagioni, Nicola Biagio Mercuri, Mauro Giorgi, Giuseppe Sancesario

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dystonia pathophysiology has been partly linked to downregulation and dysfunction ofdopamine D2 receptors in striatum. We aimed to investigate the possible morpho-structuralcorrelates of D2 receptor downregulation in the striatum of a DYT1 Tor1a mouse model. Adultcontrol Tor1a+/+ and mutant Tor1a+/- mice were used. The brains were perfused and free-floatingsections of basal ganglia were incubated with polyclonal anti-D2 antibody, followed by secondaryimmune-fluorescent antibody. Confocal microscopy was used to detect immune-fluorescent signals.The same primary antibody was used to evaluate D2 receptor expression by western blot. The D2receptor immune-fluorescence appeared circumscribed in small disks (0.3-0.5 μm diameter), likelyrepresenting D2 synapse aggregates, densely distributed in the striatum of Tor1a+/+ mice. In theTor1a+/- mice the D2 aggregates were significantly smaller (μm2 2.4 ± SE 0.16, compared to μm2 6.73± SE 3.41 in Tor1a+/+) and sparse, with ~30% less number per microscopic field, value correspondentto the amount of reduced D2 expression in western blotting analysis. In DYT1 mutant mice thesparse and small D2 synapses in the striatum may be insufficient to "gate" the amount ofpresynaptic dopamine release diffusing in peri-synaptic space, and this consequently may result ina timing and spatially larger nonselective sphere of influence of dopamine action.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 6 2020


  • D2 receptors
  • dopamine volume transmission
  • dystonia
  • striatum
  • synapses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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