Due to brain tissue heterogeneity, the molecular genetic profile of any neurotransmitter-specific neuronal subtype is unknown. The purpose of this study was to purify a population of dopamine neurons, construct a cDNA library, and generate an initial gene expression profile and a microarray representative of dopamine neuron transcripts. Ventral mesencephalic dopamine neurons were purified by fluorescent-activated cell sorting from embryonic day 13.5 transgenic mice harboring a 4.5-kb rat tyrosine hydroxylase promoter-lacZ fusion. Nine-hundred sixty dopamine neuron cDNA clones were sequenced and arrayed for use in studies of gene expression changes during methamphetamine neurotoxicity. A neurotoxic dose of methamphetamine produced a greater than twofold up-regulation of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase polypeptide I transcript from adult mouse substantia nigra at 12 h posttreatment. This is the first work to describe a gene expression profile for a neuronal subtype and to identify gene expression changes during methamphetamine neurotoxicity.
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