Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 236, Issue 4, pp 955–961 | Cite as

Evidence for encephalopsin immunoreactivity in interneurones and striosomes of the monkey striatum

  • Nabil El Massri
  • Karen M. Cullen
  • Sebastian Stefani
  • Cécile Moro
  • Napoleon Torres
  • Alim-Louis Benabid
  • John Mitrofanis
Research Article


In this study, we examined the cellular distribution of encephalopsin (opsin 3; OPN3) expression in the striatum of non-human primates. In addition, because of our long standing interest in Parkinson’s disease and neuroprotection, we examined whether parkinsonian (MPTP; 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine) insult and/or photobiomodulation (670 nm) had any impact on encephalopsin expression in this key area of the basal ganglia. Striatal sections of control naïve monkeys, together with those that were either MPTP- and/or photobiomodulation-treated were processed for immunohistochemistry. Our results revealed two populations of striatal interneurones that expressed encephalopsin, one of which was the giant, choline acetyltransferase-containing, cholinergic interneurones. The other population had smaller somata and was not cholinergic. Neither cell group expressed the calcium-binding protein, parvalbumin. There was also rich encephalopsin expression in a set of terminals forming striosome-like patches across the striatum. Finally, we found that neither parkinsonian (MPTP) insult nor photobiomodulation had any effect on encephalopsin expression in the striatum. In summary, our results revealed an extensive network of encephalopsin containing structures throughout the striatum, indicating that external light is in a position to influence a range of striatal activities at both the interneurone and striosome level.


Putamen Caudate MPTP Photobiomodulation Acetylcholine OPN3 



Choline acetyltransferase


3,3′-Diaminobenzidine tetrahydrochloride




γ-aminobutyric acid




Opsin 3






Substantia nigra pars compacta



We are forever grateful to Michael J Fox Foundation, Credit Agricole Sud Rhones Alpes, Fondation Philanthropique Edmond J Safra, France Parkinson and the French National Research Agency (ANR Carnot Institute), Tenix corp and Salteri family and our industry partners for funding this work. We thank Sharon Spana, Diane Agay, Fannie Darlot, Claude Chabrol, Guillaume Barboux, Clément Perrin, Cyril Zenga and Mylène D’Orchymont for excellent technical assistance. All authors contributed to the experiments and analysis of the results and NEM and JM to the writing of the manuscript.

Complaince with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors delares that there is no conflicts of interests to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nabil El Massri
    • 1
  • Karen M. Cullen
    • 1
  • Sebastian Stefani
    • 1
  • Cécile Moro
    • 2
  • Napoleon Torres
    • 2
  • Alim-Louis Benabid
    • 2
  • John Mitrofanis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy F13University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.University of Grenoble Alpes, CEA, LETI, CLINATEC, MINATEC CampusGrenobleFrance

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