Hypoxia has been proposed as a mechanism underlying gene-environment interactions in the neurodevelopmental model of schizophrenia, and hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) could mediate the interactions. In the current study, we analyzed the HIF-1 beta subunit, as formed by aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator (ARNT) or ARNT2, in the mouse substantia nigra (SN) and the ventral tegmental area (VTA). We performed immunohistochemical studies of ARNT and ARNT2 in the adult mouse brain, and colocalization analyses, with specific emphasis on dopaminergic cells, i.e. tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunoreactive cells. Bioinformatic analyses identified shared protein partners for ARNT and ARNT2. ARNT immunoreactivity showed widespread neuronal labeling without overt regional specificity. We observed co-localization of ARNT and TH in the SN compacta and VTA. Nuclei strongly labeled for ARNT2 were observed in the SN reticulata, while only weak immunoreactivity for ARNT2 was found in TH-immunoreactive neurons in SN compacta and VTA. Stereological analysis showed that ARNT was preferentially expressed in dopaminergic neurons in SN compacta and VTA. Nuclei strongly labeled for ARNT2 were present in neocortex and CA1 of hippocampus. Differential expression of ARNT and ARNT2 in dopaminergic neurons may relate to the vulnerability of distinct dopaminergic projections to hypoxia and to functional vulnerability in schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric disorders.
- Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Nuclear Translocator
- Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
- Brain Chemistry
- Mice, Inbred C57BL
- Substantia Nigra
- Ventral Tegmental Area