Combining rabies-virus tracing, optical clearing (CLARITY), and whole-brain light-sheet imaging, we mapped the monosynaptic inputs to midbrain dopamine neurons projecting to different targets (different parts of the striatum, cortex, amygdala, etc.) in mice. We found that most populations of dopamine neurons receive a similar set of inputs rather than forming strong reciprocal connections with their target areas. A common feature among most populations of dopamine neurons was the existence of dense 'clusters' of inputs within the ventral striatum. However, we found that dopamine neurons projecting to the posterior striatum were outliers, receiving relatively few inputs from the ventral striatum and instead receiving more inputs from the globus pallidus, subthalamic nucleus, and zona incerta. These results lay a foundation for understanding the input/output structure of the midbrain dopamine circuit and demonstrate that dopamine neurons projecting to the posterior striatum constitute a unique class of dopamine neurons regulated by different inputs.
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to approved Harvard animal care and use committee (IACUC) protocols (#26-03) of Harvard University. All surgery was performed under isofluorane anesthesia, and every effort was made to minimize suffering.
- Sacha B Nelson, Brandeis University, United States
© 2015, Menegas et al.
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A new imaging method reveals previously undetected structural differences that may contribute to developmental language disorder.
Developmental language disorder (DLD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by receptive or expressive language difficulties or both. While theoretical frameworks and empirical studies support the idea that there may be neural correlates of DLD in frontostriatal loops, findings are inconsistent across studies. Here, we use a novel semiquantitative imaging protocol – multi-parameter mapping (MPM) – to investigate microstructural neural differences in children with DLD. The MPM protocol allows us to reproducibly map specific indices of tissue microstructure. In 56 typically developing children and 33 children with DLD, we derived maps of (1) longitudinal relaxation rate R1 (1/T1), (2) transverse relaxation rate R2* (1/T2*), and (3) Magnetization Transfer saturation (MTsat). R1 and MTsat predominantly index myelin, while R2* is sensitive to iron content. Children with DLD showed reductions in MTsat values in the caudate nucleus bilaterally, as well as in the left ventral sensorimotor cortex and Heschl’s gyrus. They also had globally lower R1 values. No group differences were noted in R2* maps. Differences in MTsat and R1 were coincident in the caudate nucleus bilaterally. These findings support our hypothesis of corticostriatal abnormalities in DLD and indicate abnormal levels of myelin in the dorsal striatum in children with DLD.