Video_2_Hyperactive Response of Direct Pathway Striatal Projection Neurons to L-dopa and D1 Agonism in Freely Moving Parkinsonian Mice.MOV
Dopamine (DA) profoundly stimulates motor function as demonstrated by the hypokinetic motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease (PD) and by the hyperkinetic motor side effects during dopaminergic treatment of PD. Dopamine (DA) receptor-bypassing, optogenetics- and chemogenetics-induced spike firing of striatal DA D1 receptor (D1R)-expressing, direct pathway medium spiny neurons (dSPNs or dMSNs) promotes movements. However, the endogenous D1R-mediated effects, let alone those of DA replacement, on dSPN spike activity in freely-moving animals is not established. Here we show that using transcription factor Pitx3 null mutant (Pitx3Null) mice as a model for severe and consistent DA denervation in the dorsal striatum in Parkinson's disease, antidromically identified striatonigral neurons (D1R-expressing dSPNs) had a lower baseline spike firing rate than that in DA-intact normal mice, and these neurons increased their spike firing more strongly in Pitx3Null mice than in WT mice in response to injection of L-dopa or the D1R agonist, SKF81297; the increase in spike firing temporally coincided with the motor-stimulating effects of L-dopa and SKF81297. Taken together, these results provide the first evidence from freely moving animals that in parkinsonian striatum, identified behavior-promoting dSPNs become hyperactive upon the administration of L-dopa or a D1 agonist, likely contributing to the profound dopaminergic motor stimulation in parkinsonian animals and PD patients.