Evidence for the preferential localization of glutamate receptor-1 subunits of AMPA receptors to the dendritic spines of medium spiny neurons in rat striatum

Q. Chen, L. Veenman, K. Knopp, Z. Yan, L. Medina, W. J. Song, D. J. Surmeier, A. Reiner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Although immunohistochemical studies have typically found the perikarya of striatal projection neurons to be devoid of immunohistochemical labelling for the GluR1 AMPA type glutamate receptor subunit, the striatal neuropil is rich in GluR1 immunolabelling and in situ hybridization histochemistry has indicated the presence of GluR1 message in many striatal neurons. To explore the possibility that GluR1 subunits may be synthesized by many striatal projection neurons, but selectively localized to their dendrites, we have used light-microscopic and electron-microscopic immunohistochemistry in combination with single-cell reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Light-microscopic immunohistochemical studies confirmed the presence of abundant GluR1 immunoreactivity in the striatal neuropil in rats. Perikaryal labelling was restricted to neurons previously identified as parvalbuminergic neurons. Single-cell reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction for individual striatal neurons in rats confirmed that most striatal projection neurons (i.e. containing either or both substance P message or enkephalin message) make GluR1 message. For example, 94% of enkephalin-containing neurons, 75% of substance P-containing neurons, and 87% of enkephalin and substance P co-containing neurons expressed GluR1 messenger RNA. Electron- microscopic immunohistochemistry revealed that GluR1 immunolabelling was prominent in 61% of dendritic spines and 53% of dendritic shafts. While prominent perikaryal GluR1 immunolabelling was observed only in a small population of interneurons, sparse perikaryal GluR1 immunolabelling was found associated with the rough endoplasmic reticulum, the Golgi apparatus, the outer membranes of the mitochondria, and the outer envelope of the nucleus of about 30% of striatal projection neurons (identified by their non-indented nuclei). These results indicate that striatal projection neurons selectively target GluR1 subunits to their spines and dendritic shafts. Our finding has implications for the functioning of striatal projection neurons and for the general issue of whether neurons can control the subcellular localization of glutamate receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)749-761
Number of pages13
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 5 1998


  • Basal ganglia
  • Dendrites
  • Electron microscope
  • Glutamate receptors
  • Neuropil
  • RT-PCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Evidence for the preferential localization of glutamate receptor-1 subunits of AMPA receptors to the dendritic spines of medium spiny neurons in rat striatum'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this