Cellular, subcellular, and subsynaptic distribution of AMPA-type glutamate receptor subunits in the neostriatum of the rat.
Glutamate released in the basal ganglia is involved in the expression of clinical symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's or Huntington's. Neostriatal neurons are the targets of glutamatergic inputs derived from the cortex and the thalamus acting via AMPA-type as well as other glutamate receptors. To determine the location of subunits of the AMPA subclass of glutamate receptors (GluR) in the rat neostriatum, we applied multiple immunocytochemical techniques using anti-peptide antibodies against the GluR1, GluR2/3, and GluR4 subunits at both the light and electron microscopic levels. All medium spiny efferent neurons, some of which were identified as striatonigral neurons, displayed immunoreactivity for GluR1 and GluR2/3 subunits. Double immunofluorescence revealed that at least 70-90% of parvalbumin-immunopositive GABAergic interneurons were immunoreactive for each of GluR1, GluR2/3, or GluR4 subunits and that at least 40% of choline acetyltransferase-immunopositive cholinergic interneurons were immunopositive for GluR1 or GluR4 subunits. The majority of nitric oxide synthase-immunopositive neurons had no detectable immunoreactivity for any of the AMPA receptor subunits. Electron microscopic analysis confirmed the presence of immunoreactivity for GluR1 and GluR2/3 in the perikarya of spiny neurons and interneurons and GluR4 in perikarya of interneurons only. GluR1 and GluR2/3 subunits were detected in dendrites and spines. A significant population of extrasynaptic receptors was revealed by pre-embedding immunogold labeling along the plasma membranes of perikarya, dendrites, and spines. Receptors were concentrated in the postsynaptic membrane specialization of asymmetrical synapses, as revealed by the postembedding immunogold method. Quantitative analysis demonstrated that immunoreactivity for the GluR1 and GluR2/3 subunits is higher at the periphery than at the middle of the postsynaptic membrane specialization. Our results demonstrate that AMPA receptor subunits are distributed widely and heterogeneously among striatal neurons and are concentrated on the postsynaptic membrane of asymmetrical synaptic specializations, although extrasynaptic receptors are also present.
1997.J. Neurosci., 17(2):819-33.