Differential ultrastructural alterations in the Vglut2 glutamatergic input to the substantia nigra pars compacta/pars reticulata following nigrostriatal dopamine loss in a progressive mouse model of Parkinson's disease.Eur J Neurosci. 2020 Jul 03 [Online ahead of print]EJ
Loss of nigrostriatal dopamine (DA) in Parkinson's disease results in over-activation/bursting of the subthalamic nucleus (STN). The STN projects to the substantia nigra (SN) pars compacta (SNpc) and pars reticulata (SNpr). The vesicular glutamate transporter 2 (Vglut2) is localized within at least STN terminals synapsing within the SN, but it is not known if there are differential changes in the Vglut2+ input to the SNpc versus SNpr following DA loss. The goal/rationale of this current study was to determine whether there were differential changes in the density/levels of glutamate immuno-gold labeling within Vglut2+ nerve terminals synapsing in the SNpc/SNpr and in the proportion of Vglut2+ terminals contacting tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) positively(+) or negatively(-) labeled dendrites following DA loss. Within the SNpc, there was a significant increase (51.3%) in the density of nerve terminal glutamate immuno-gold labeling within Vglut2+ terminals synapsing on TH(-) dendrites following MPTP versus the vehicle (VEH) group. There was a significant decrease (16%) in the percentage of Vglut2+ terminals contacting TH(+) labeled dendrites in the MPTP- versus VEH-treated group within the SNpc. Within the SNpr, there was a significant decrease in the density of glutamate immuno-gold labeling in Vglut2+ terminals contacting TH(+) (71.5%) and TH(-) (55.5%) labeled dendrites, suggesting an increase in glutamate release. There was no change in the percentage of Vglut2+ terminals contacting TH(+) or TH(-) dendrites in the SNpr. We conclude that there is a differential effect following DA loss on the glutamate input from Vglut2+ terminals synapsing within the SNpr versus SNpc.