Localization of dopamine receptors and associated mRNA in transplants of human fetal striatal tissue in rodents with experimental Huntington's disease

Lisa L. Pundt, Neelam Narang, Takeshi Kondoh, Walter C. Low

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Huntington's Disease (HD) is characterized by deficits in motor and cognitive functions. This neurodegenerative disease shows an extensive loss of medium-sized spiny projection neurons (GABAergic) within the neostriatum. With the loss of these neurons, there is a concomitant loss of associated receptors, such as those for GABA, glutamate, and dopamine. In the present study, we have addressed the question of whether dopamine receptors are re-established in the lesioned rodent striatum following the transplantation of human striatal cells. Human striatal cell suspension or saline (transplant controls) was injected into the striatum of rats previously lesioned with quinolinic acid (QA). Three-nine months following transplantation, the animals were sacrificed and the brains were processed for receptor autoradiography and in situ hybridization of dopamine D1 and D2 receptor subtypes. Our results demonstrate that animals transplanted with human striatal cells show a significant increase in D1 receptors following transplantation when compared to the lesion area in control animals, while D1 receptor mRNA remains unchanged. In contrast to D1 receptor binding, D2 receptor levels are not increased in the lesioned and transplanted area of the striatum when compared to controls; however, D2 receptor mRNA levels are significantly increased. These results demonstrate that at the times the animals were examined, D1 and D2 receptors were differentially regulated. Our results further indicate that human striatal primordium will survive following transplantation and will express D1 receptors and D2 receptor mRNA that are depleted in the QA lesioned rodent striatum. This study compliments and extends previous findings on human striatal cell transplantation in rodent models of HD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-315
Number of pages11
JournalNeuroscience Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1997

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank David Tacke and Mike McPhee for Technical and photographic assistance and Kate Durben, Joan Bailey, and Linda King for expert clerical and administrative assistance in manuscript preparation and bibliography search. This work was supported by PHS grant R01-NS-24464, the SUPER fund, and by bridge funding from the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, Fargo, ND.


  • Autoradiography
  • Dopamine receptors
  • Human fetal tissue
  • Huntington's disease
  • In situ hybridization
  • Neuronal transplant


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