False labelling of dopaminergic terminals in the rabbit caudate nucleus: uptake and release of [3H]-5-hydroxytryptamine

Br J Pharmacol. 1986 Jul;88(3):677-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.1986.tb10250.x.


The effect of the catecholamine uptake inhibitor nomifensine and of the 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) uptake blocker 6-nitroquipazine on the accumulation of [3H]-5-HT (0.1 microM, 60 min incubation) and [3H]-dopamine (0.1 microM, 30 min incubation) into slices of hippocampus and caudate nucleus of the rabbit was investigated. In addition, the influence of nomifensine on the electrically evoked [3H]-5-HT release from caudate nucleus slices and of nomifensine and 6-nitroquipazine on [3H]-5-HT released from caudate nucleus slices was analysed. In hippocampal slices, which contain practically no dopaminergic but densely distributed 5-hydroxytryptaminergic and noradrenergic nerve terminals (ratio of dopamine:5-HT:noradrenaline about 1:30:25), nomifensine (1, 10 microM) did not affect the accumulation of [3H]-5-HT; 6-nitroquipazine (1 microM) reduced [3H]-5-HT uptake to about 35% of controls. In the caudate nucleus, however, where dopamine is the predominant monoamine (ratio of dopamine:5-HT:noradrenaline about 400:25:15) nomifensine (1, 10 microM) reduced the tritium accumulation to 65% whereas 6-nitroquipazine (1 microM) was ineffective. The combination of both drugs (1 microM each) led to a further decrease to about 15%. The uptake of [3H]-dopamine into hippocampal slices was blocked by both nomifensine (1 microM) and 6-nitroquipazine (1 microM) whereas in caudate nucleus slices only nomifensine (1, 10 microM) reduced the accumulation of [3H]-dopamine. The combination of both drugs was not more effective than nomifensine alone. The different effects of both uptake inhibitors in the hippocampus and caudate nucleus suggest a neurone specific rather than a substrate specific mode of action. 4 In caudate nucleus slices incubated with [3H]-5-HT and superfused continuously the electrically evoked 5-HT release was diminished by the D2-dopamine receptor agonist LY 171555 and enhanced by the D2-receptor antagonist domperidone. If, however, the labelling of caudate nucleus slices was performed in the presence of I microM or 1O microM nomifensine, the modulation of 5-HT release via D2- receptors was reduced or abolished, respectively. In the hippocampus both LY 171555 and domperidone were completely ineffective in modulating 5-HT release regardless of the absence or presence of nomifensine. 5 The present results indicate that an inverse cross labelling of [3H]-5-HT into dopaminergic and of [3H]-dopamine into 5-hydroxytryptaminergic terminals may occur despite the low concentration (0.1 microM) oftritiated transmitters used. Such cross labelling, as demonstrated with the incubation period of 60 min in the caudate nucleus, may falsely indicate the existence of D2-dopamine receptors modulating [3H]-5-HT release. If both 5-hydroxytryptaminergic and dopaminergic terminals are present within the brain region under investigation false labelling can be corrected using neuronally specific uptake inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caudate Nucleus / drug effects
  • Caudate Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Domperidone / pharmacology
  • Ergolines / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Nomifensine / pharmacology
  • Quinpirole
  • Quipazine / analogs & derivatives
  • Rabbits
  • Receptors, Dopamine / drug effects
  • Receptors, Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Serotonin / metabolism*
  • Serotonin Antagonists / pharmacology


  • Ergolines
  • Receptors, Dopamine
  • Serotonin Antagonists
  • Nomifensine
  • Quinpirole
  • Serotonin
  • Quipazine
  • Domperidone
  • 6-nitroquipazine