Myoclonus dystonia (M-D) is a hereditary movement disorder caused by a maternally imprinted gene that is often associated with psychiatric symptoms. Most cases of M-D are believed to result from mutations of the epsilon-sarcoglycan protein. The neuroanatomical distribution of epsilon-sarcoglycan-like immunoreactivity in mouse was investigated by using an antiserum against the epsilon-sarcoglycan protein. The expression of epsilon-sarcoglycan mRNA was studied by a sensitive fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) method. Immunohistochemistry and FISH revealed a wide distribution of epsilon-sarcoglycan protein and mRNA throughout the mouse brain. High expression levels of epsilon-sarcoglycan mRNA and immunoreactivity were found in the mitral cell layer of the olfactory bulb, the Purkinje cell layer in cerebellum, and the monoaminergic neurons in the mouse midbrain. Immunohistochemistry revealed a similar distribution of epsilon-sarcoglycan protein. Double-labeling FISH showed colocalization of tyrosine hydroxylase and epsilon-sarcoglycan mRNAs within all the midbrain dopaminergic (DAergic) cell groups. By combining FISH with fluorescence immunohistochemistry, coexpression of epsilon-sarcoglycan mRNA and tryptophan hydroxylase immunoreactivity was found in the serotonergic (5-HTergic) neurons within the dorsal raphe nucleus. The distribution of epsilon-sarcoglycan in the mouse brain suggests that the symptom complex of M-D may be related to the effects of decreased epsilon-sarcoglycan activity on the development or function of monoaminergic neurons.
2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.