Expression of D1 receptor mRNA in projections from the forebrain to the ventral tegmental area

Xin Yun Lu, Lynn Churchill, Peter W. Kalivas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


In situ hybridization was combined with Fluoro-Gold retrograde labeling to determine if cells projecting from the forebrain to the ventral tegmental area (VTA) express D1 receptor mRNA. Cell counts were made in the prefrontal cortex, shell of the nucleus accumbens, and ventral pallidum to estimate the percentage of neurons projecting to the VTA that express D1 receptor mRNA. Retrogradely labeled cells were observed in the infralimbic and prelimbic regions of the prefrontal cortex, and up to 37% of the retrogradely labeled cells expressed D1 receptor mRNA. Double-labeled cells constituted up to 89% of retrogradely labeled neurons in the rostral shell and up to 68% in the caudal shell of the nucleus accumbens. The number of retrogradely labeled cells in the ventral pallidum that were double-labeled ranged from 13% in the rostral to less than 10% in the caudal portions. These data provide anatomical support for a role of D1 receptors in the reciprocal innervation between the forebrain and VTA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-214
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1997


  • FluoroGold
  • dopamine
  • in situ hybridization
  • nucleus accumbens
  • prefrontal cortex
  • ventral tegmental area

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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