A null mutation in TGF-α leads to a reduction in midbrain dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra

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Abstract

Transforming growth factor (TGF)-α is neurotrophic for midbrain dopaminergic neurons in vitro. Here I investigated whether a null mutation in the TGF-α gene affects the normal development or survival of dopaminergic neurons in either the substantial nigra (SN) or the ventral tegmental area (VTA). The SN of TGF-α knockout mice contained 50% fewer dopaminergic neurons than the control SN, but VTA neuron number was unchanged. In addition, the overall volume of the dorsal striatum was reduced by 20%. Newborn mice showed a similar decrease in the number of SN dopaminergic neurons, suggesting that TGF-α is unlikely to regulate developmental neuron death. These studies indicate that TGF-α is required for the normal proliferation or differentiation of a select population of dopaminergic neurons within the SN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)374-377
Number of pages4
JournalNature Neuroscience
Volume1
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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