Date of Completion

Spring 5-9-2010

Thesis Advisor(s)

Joanne Conover

Honors Major

Cell Biology


Life Sciences | Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience | Molecular Biology


The subventricular zone (SVZ) is one of two areas in the brain that, in a healthy mouse, continually generate neurons throughout adulthood. While it was previously thought that only the A9 neurons of the substantia nigra sent dopaminergic afferents to the SVZ, recent studies suggest that the A10 neurons of the ventral tegmental area may innervate this area. This project has aimed to discover which, if either, model is correct.

Examination of the Aphakia (AK) mouse was used to determine the role of distinct midbrain regions in SVZ regulation. Additionally, intraperitoneal injections of the chemical MPTP were used to deduce the role of A9 and A10 dopamine signaling in the SVZ. Anterograde and retrograde neuronal tracing were used to identify the specific midbrain region that sends dopaminergic afferents to the SVZ. Our results, while preliminary, suggest that the currently accepted notion of the A9 dopaminergic innervation may need to be replaced by a model in which the A10 VTA neurons, or a combination of A9 and A10 neurons, innervate the SVZ.