Serotonergic sprouting is induced by dopamine-lesion in substantia nigra of adult rat brain

Feng C. Zhou, Sharon Bledsoe, James Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

118 Scopus citations


We have previously extracted a serotonin (5-HT) neurotrophic supernatant from the 5,7-DHT lesioned hippocampus. The current study shows that a new 5-HT neurotrophic signal was monitored in the striatum and nigra after DA-denervation. Such a signal may be involved in the heterotypic sprouting. Dopaminergic neurotoxin, 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA), was injected directly into the substantia nigra of adult rats. Two months after surgery, immunocytochemical staining showed that tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive cell bodies had mostly disappeared in the substantia nigra, and TH-positive terminals in the striatum were almost completely depleted. Meanwhile, the 5-HT fibers, which exist in the same areas with low density, sprouted in the nigra as well as in the striatum and became dense. Normally 5-HT fibers innervate the striatum sparsely and the globus pallidus densely with sharp delineation (in the control side), and become dense across both areas with no appreciable delineation (in the lesion side). The increase of 5-HT fibers was more prominent in the posterior than in the anterior striatum. A significant increase in 5-HT and 5-HIAA levels was also evident in the posterior striatum when the decrease in DA level exceeded 90% in the nigra and striatum. In addition, we found that induction of 5-HT sprouting requires a >90% decrease of DA level. Current data support that 6-OHDA injection in the substantia nigra of adult rats triggered a trophic signal or removed an inhibition for the growth of 5-HT neurons which responded with sprouting in the nigra as well as in the striatum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-116
Number of pages9
JournalBrain research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 9 1991


  • 5-HT hyperinnervation
  • CNS plasticity
  • Heterotypic sprouting
  • Image analysis
  • Neuronal regeneration
  • Striatum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)

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