Old neurochemical markers, new functional directions?
J. Neurochem.. 2020-01-09; :
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The dorsal striatum coordinates input-output processing of numerous functions including those related to motor activity, motivation, and learning. Considerable anatomical and biochemical heterogeneity across striatal subregions has long been known to result in distinct functional outcomes, and for imbalances in these pathways to contribute to many complex disorders. Here we highlight the study of Hörtnagl et al. (2019) who utilize precision dissection of human caudate nucleus and putamen for detailed measurement of major neurochemical markers to address the question of anatomical heterogeneity of neurotransmitter distribution and turnover in these regions. The findings identify gradients of neurotransmitter markers in rostro-caudal, dorso-lateral, and anterior-posterior directions with a precision that has not been previously determined in humans. Correlative analyses of the results also suggest tentative links between content of various neurotransmitters in specific subregions, raising the intriguing possibility that neurotransmitter quantity in one territory may correlate with the quantity of the same or different transmitter from another territory. This suggests the presence of a functional anatomy over extensive brain regions and networks that can be studied through multiple correlative analyses, and identify a possible basis for a new approach for postmortem analysis of neurotransmitter distribution and function.