Developmental expression of monoamine oxidases A and B in the central and peripheral nervous systems of the mouse

J Comp Neurol. 2002 Jan 21;442(4):331-47. doi: 10.1002/cne.10093.


Monoamine oxidases A (MAOA) and B (MAOB) are key players in the inactivation pathway of biogenic amines. Their cellular localization has been well established in the mature brain, but nothing is known concerning the localization of both enzymes during development. We have combined in situ hybridization and histochemistry to localize MAOA and MAOB in the developing nervous system of mice. Our observations can be summarized as five key features. (1) MAOA is tightly linked to catecholaminergic traits. MAOA is expressed in all noradrenergic and adrenergic neurons early on, and in several dopaminergic cell groups such as the substantia nigra. MAOA is also expressed in all the neurons that display a transient tyrosine hydroxylase expression in the brainstem and the amygdala and in neurons with transient dopamine-beta-hydroxylase expression in the cranial sensory ganglia. (2) MAOA and MAOB are coexpressed in the serotoninergic neurons of the raphe from E12 to P7. During postnatal life, MAOA expression declines, whereas MAOB expression remains stable. (3) MAOA is transiently expressed in the cholinergic motor nuclei of the hindbrain, and MAOB is expressed in the forebrain cholinergic neurons. (4) MAOA- and MAOB-expressing neurons are also detected in structures that do not contain aminergic neurons, such as the thalamus, hippocampus, and claustrum. (5) Starting at birth, MAOB expression is found in a variety of nonneuronal cells, the choroid plexus, the ependyma, and astrocytes. These localizations are of importance for understanding the effects of monoaminergic transmission during development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / metabolism
  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Central Nervous System / embryology
  • Central Nervous System / enzymology*
  • Central Nervous System / growth & development
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Epinephrine / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology
  • Histamine / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Melatonin / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H / embryology
  • Mice, Inbred C3H / growth & development
  • Mice, Inbred C3H / metabolism*
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Monoamine Oxidase / genetics
  • Monoamine Oxidase / metabolism*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / enzymology*
  • Norepinephrine / metabolism
  • Peripheral Nervous System / embryology
  • Peripheral Nervous System / enzymology*
  • Peripheral Nervous System / growth & development
  • Phenotype
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Serotonin / metabolism


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Serotonin
  • Histamine
  • Monoamine Oxidase
  • Melatonin
  • Acetylcholine
  • Dopamine
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine