The role of transcription factor Pitx3 in dopamine neuron development and Parkinson's disease

Curr Top Med Chem. 2009;9(10):855-9.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterized by the selective loss of dopamine (DA) neurons in the substantia nigra compacta (SNc). The transcription factor Pitx3 is important for the differentiation and maintenance of midbrain DA neurons during development. There is highly restricted and constitutive expression of Pitx3 in the SNc and ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the midbrain after birth. In addition to its importance during development, Pitx3 also has roles in the long-term survival and maintenance of the midbrain DA neurons. In this review, we discuss the function of Pitx3 throughout the life of midbrain neurons and the contribution of Pitx3 to disease mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Parkinson Disease / genetics
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism*
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • homeobox protein PITX3
  • Dopamine