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Title: Investigating the presynaptic control of striatal dopamine release
Author: Platt, Nicola J.
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Dopamine (DA) is a key neuromodulator in the striatum, and is important for action selection and reinforcement learning. Dysfunctions in striatal DA signalling contribute to numerous disorders including Parkinson’s disease (PD) and drug addiction. Midbrain DA neurons switch from low to high frequency firing in response to reward-related events, which is proposed to increase striatal DA release. However, in addition to DA neuron firing pattern, striatal DA signalling depends upon the short-term plasticity of DA release, which is controlled by presynaptic and local network factors. This thesis uses fast-scan cyclic voltammetry, in murine striatal slices, to detect subsecond changes in extracellular DA, and investigate the presynaptic control of striatal DA release and release plasticity. Acetylcholine from striatal cholinergic interneurons, acting at nicotinic receptors (nAChRs) on DA terminals, is one factor that strongly influences DA release. This thesis particularly explores how presynaptic factors interact with nAChRs to control DA release. Firstly, release probability, a key determinant of release plasticity at many synapses, was found to be only weakly related to DA release plasticity, and only when nAChRs are inactive. Secondly, a direct role of the DA uptake transporter (DAT) in controlling DA release plasticity was identified, when nAChRs are inactive. Thirdly, regional differences were identified in the role of the DAT in controlling DA release via control of D2 receptor activation, when nAChRs are active. Finally, mutant α-synuclein, which causes PD in humans, was found to only subtly affect striatal DA release. These data suggest that the control of striatal DA release differs substantially from other central transmitters. Release probability and α-synuclein play only minor roles, but nAChRs and the DAT significantly control DA release plasticity. These findings review our understanding of striatal DA release and may have implications for understanding the actions of drugs of abuse and early PD pathogenesis.
Supervisor: Cragg, Stephanie J. Sponsor: Medical Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Neuroscience ; dopamine ; voltammetry ; acetylcholine ; basal ganglia ; Parkinson's