Paper Chase is a research database designed to offer abstracts of research articles published in journals that have a highly rated impact factor as determined by ISI Impact Factor and PageRank. Abstracts are organized by date, with the most recently published papers listed first. 

Paper Chase

Dopaminergic neurons inhibit striatal output through non-canonical release of GABA.

Nature. Oct 11, 2012;490(7419):262-6.
Tritsch NX, Ding JB, Sabatini BL.

Department of Neurobiology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard Medical School, 220 Longwood Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

Abstract:

The substantia nigra pars compacta and ventral tegmental area contain the two largest populations of dopamine-releasing neurons in the mammalian brain. These neurons extend elaborate projections in the striatum, a large subcortical structure implicated in motor planning and reward-based learning. Phasic activation of dopaminergic neurons in response to salient or reward-predicting stimuli is thought to modulate striatal output through the release of dopamine to promote and reinforce motor action. Here we show that activation of dopamine neurons in striatal slices rapidly inhibits action potential firing in both direct- and indirect-pathway striatal projection neurons through vesicular release of the inhibitory transmitter GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid). GABA is released directly from dopaminergic axons but in a manner that is independent of the vesicular GABA transporter VGAT. Instead, GABA release requires activity of the vesicular monoamine transporter VMAT2, which is the vesicular transporter for dopamine. Furthermore, VMAT2 expression in GABAergic neurons lacking VGAT is sufficient to sustain GABA release. Thus, these findings expand the repertoire of synaptic mechanisms used by dopamine neurons to influence basal ganglia circuits, show a new substrate whose transport is dependent on VMAT2 and demonstrate that GABA can function as a bona fide co-transmitter in monoaminergic neurons.