Expression of transgenes in midbrain dopamine neurons using the tyrosine hydroxylase promoter

M. S. Oh, S. J. Hong, Y. Huh, K. S. Kim*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

Billions of neurons are interconnected in the central nervous system (CNS). Identification of specific neuronal circuit is indispensable for understanding the relationship between structure and function in the CNS. The midbrain dopamine (DA) neuron system consists of the retrorubral area (A8), the substantia nigra (SN; A9) and the ventral tegmental area (VTA; A10). We hypothesized that genetic methods using cell-type-specific promoters may offer the possibility to express tracer molecules in DA neurons to facilitate neuronal tracing. To address this, we used the 2.5 kb rat tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) promoter in adenovirus or adeno-associated virus (AAV) to express tracers specifically in DA neurons. We found that stereotaxic injection of TH promoter containing adenoviral construct resulted in cell-type-specific transgene expression in the noradrenaline (NA) neurons of the locus coeruleus (LC). However, it caused a significant toxicity to DA neurons in the SN. In contrast, stereotaxic injection of TH promoter containing AAV to the SN resulted in cell-type-specific transgene expression in DA neurons with no detectable toxicity. Taken together, our results demonstrate that it is possible to selectively trace DA neuronal circuits in rodent brains using the TH promoter in the context of AAV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-440
Number of pages4
JournalGene therapy
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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