Patterns of Vulnerability of Mesostriatal Neurons

  • Bruce Quinn
  • Ann M. Graybiel
  • Rosario Moratalla
  • J. William Langston
  • Suzanne Roffler-Tarlov
  • Keiko Ohta
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 38A)


Of the major neurological diseases that affect the basal ganglia, Parkinson’s disease is by far the most common. The cause of idiopathic Parkinson’s disease has remained obscure, resisting attribution to either a genetic or an environmental factor. Yet the hallmark of this condition is well known: a marked, and often profound, loss of neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (Hassler, 1938). Attention accordingly remains focused on searching for characteristics of the nigral pars compacta neurons that might hold clues to the etiology underlying the development and progression of Parkinson’s disease. These characteristics include the synthesis and metabolism of dopamine, the accumulation of large amounts of intraneuronal neuromelanin, and the vulnerability of these neurons, at least in some experimental conditions, to retrograde degeneration after lesion of their terminals in the neostriatum (Rosegay, 1944, Bedard et al., 1969; Imai et al., 1988). We focus here on two animal models that demonstrate a shared vulnerability of the midbrain dopamine-containing neurons and their striatal projections: the weaver mutation in the mouse, and 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) neurotoxicity in the monkey.


Tyrosine Hydroxylase Substantia Nigra Ventral Tegmental Area Dopamine Uptake Human Substantia Nigra 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce Quinn
    • 1
  • Ann M. Graybiel
    • 1
  • Rosario Moratalla
    • 1
  • J. William Langston
    • 2
  • Suzanne Roffler-Tarlov
    • 3
  • Keiko Ohta
    • 4
  1. 1.Laboratory of NeuroanatomyDepartment of Brain and Cognitive Sciences M.I.T.CambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Medical ResearchSan JoseUSA
  3. 3.Program in NeurosciencesTufts University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  4. 4.Dept. of NeurologyJichi Medical SchoolTochigiJapan

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