High Sensitivity Mapping of Cortical Dopamine D2 Receptor Expressing Neurons

Cereb Cortex. 2019 Aug 14;29(9):3813-3827. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhy261.


Cortical D2 dopamine receptor (Drd2) have mostly been examined in the context of cognitive function regulation and neurotransmission modulation of medial prefrontal cortex by principal neurons and parvalbumin positive, fast-spiking, interneurons in schizophrenia. Early studies suggested the presence of D2 receptors in several cortical areas, albeit with major technical limitations. We used combinations of transgenic reporter systems, recombinase activated viral vectors, quantitative translatome analysis, and high sensitivity in situ hybridization to identify D2 receptor expressing cells and establish a map of their respective projections. Our results identified previously uncharacterized clusters of D2 expressing neurons in limbic and sensory regions of the adult mouse brain cortex. Characterization of these clusters by translatome analysis and cell type specific labeling revealed highly heterogeneous expression of D2 receptors in principal neurons and various populations of interneurons across cortical areas. Transcript enrichment analysis also demonstrated variable levels of D2 receptor expression and several orphan G-protein-coupled receptors coexpression in different neuronal clusters, thus suggesting strategies for genetic and therapeutic targeting of D2 expressing neurons in specific cortical areas. These results pave the way for a thorough re-examination of cortical D2 receptor functions, which could provide information about neuronal circuits involved in psychotic and mood disorders.

Keywords: Dopamine D2 receptor; RiboTag; binary reporter mouse; claustrum; insula; orphan receptors; prefrontal cortex; sensory cortices; translatome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neural Pathways / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / metabolism*


  • DRD2 protein, mouse
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2