The hippocampal formation is part of an anatomical system critically involved in learning and memory. Increasing evidence suggests that dopamine plays an important role in learning and memory as well as in several forms of synaptic plasticity. However, the precise identification of neuronal populations expressing D1 or D2 dopamine receptors within the hippocampus is still lacking. To clarify this issue, we used BAC transgenic mice expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) under the control of the promoter of dopamine D1 or D2 receptors. In Drd1a-EGFP mice, sparse GFP-expressing neurons were detected among glutamatergic projecting neurons of the granular layer of the dentate gyrus and GABAergic interneurons located in the hilus. A dense immunofluorescence was observed in the outer and medial part of the molecular layer of the dentate gyrus as well as in the inner part of the molecular layer of CA1 corresponding to the terminals of pyramidal neurons of the entorhinal cortex defining the perforant and the temporo-ammonic pathway respectively. Finally, scattered D1 receptor-expressing neurons were also identified as GABAergic interneurons in the CA3/CA1 fields of the hippocampus. In Drd2-EGFP transgenic mice, GFP was exclusively detected in the glutamatergic mossy cells located in the polymorphic layer of the dentate gyrus. This pattern was confirmed in Drd2-Cre mice crossed with NLS-LacZ-Tau(mGFP) :LoxP and RCE:LoxP reporter lines. Our results demonstrate that D1 and D2 receptor-expressing neurons are strictly segregated in the mouse hippocampus. By clarifying the identity of D1 and D2 receptor-expressing neurons in the hippocampus, this study establishes a basis for future investigations aiming at elucidating their roles in the hippocampal network.
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