Classification of Midbrain Dopamine Neurons Using Single-Cell Gene Expression Profiling Approaches

Jean Francois Poulin, Zachary Gaertner, Oscar Andrés Moreno-Ramos, Rajeshwar Awatramani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Dysfunctional dopamine (DA) signaling has been associated with a broad spectrum of neuropsychiatric disorders, prompting investigations into how midbrain DA neuron heterogeneity may underpin this variety of behavioral symptoms. Emerging literature indeed points to functional heterogeneity even within anatomically defined DA clusters. Recognizing the need for a systematic classification scheme, several groups have used single-cell profiling to catalog DA neurons based on their gene expression profiles. We aim here not only to synthesize points of congruence but also to highlight key differences between the molecular classification schemes derived from these studies. In doing so, we hope to provide a common framework that will facilitate investigations into the functions of DA neuron subtypes in the healthy and diseased brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-169
Number of pages15
JournalTrends in Neurosciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • cell type
  • dopaminergic system
  • intersectional
  • molecular diversity
  • neuroanatomy
  • single-cell RNA-seq

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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