Subtle changes in striatal muscarinic M1 and M4 receptor expression in the DYT1 knock-in mouse model of dystonia
In early-onset generalized torsion dystonia, caused by a GAG deletion in TOR1A (DYT1), enhanced striatal cholinergic activity has been suggested to be critically involved. Previous studies have shown increased acetylcholine levels in the striatum of DYT1 knock-in (KI) mice. Ex vivo data indicated that muscarinic receptor antagonists normalize the activity of striatal cholinergic interneurons. Currently receptor subtype specific antagonists are developed for therapy, however, it is yet unknown whether the levels of targeted receptors are unaltered. In the present study, we firstly examined the expression of M1 and M4 receptors in DYT1 KI mice in comparison to wildtype mice. While no changes in mRNA were found in the motor cortex, the expression of M1 was higher in the striatum of DYT1 KI. However, M1 protein did not differ in striatum and cortex between the animal groups as shown by immunohistochemistry and western blot. M4 receptor protein, unaltered in the cortex, was slightly lower in lateral subparts of the striatum, but unchanged in somata of cholinergic interneurons and substance P immunoreactive projection neurons. Functional alterations of the cholinergic system and of aberrant striatal plasticity, demonstrated by previous studies, seem not to be related to overt changes in M1 and M4 expression. This critically informs the ongoing development of respective antagonists for therapy of dystonia.
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