Agonist-dependent internalization of D2 receptors: Imaging quantification by confocal microscopy
Goggi, J.L., Sardini, A., Egerton, A., Strange, P.G. and Grasby, P.M. (2007) Agonist-dependent internalization of D2 receptors: Imaging quantification by confocal microscopy. Synapse, 61 (4). pp. 231-41. ISSN 0887-4476
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1002/syn.20360
In positron emission tomography and single photon emission computed tomography studies using D2 dopamine (DA) receptor radiotracers, a decrease in radiotracer binding potential (BP) is usually interpreted in terms of increased competition with synaptic DA. However, some data suggest that this signal may also reflect agonist (DA)-induced increases in D2 receptor (D2R) internalization, a process which would presumably also decrease the population of receptors available for binding to hydrophilic radioligands. To advance interpretation of alterations in D2 radiotracer BP, direct methods of assessment of D2R internalization are required. Here, we describe a confocal microscopy-based approach for the quantification of agonist-dependent receptor internalization. The method relies upon double-labeling of the receptors with antibodies directed against intracellular as well as extracellular epitopes. Following agonist stimulation, DA D2R internalization was quantified by differentiating, in optical cell sections, the signal due to the staining of the extracellular from intracellular epitopes of D2Rs. Receptor internalization was increased in the presence of the D2 agonists DA and bromocriptine, but not the D1 agonist SKF38393. Pretreatment with either the D2 antagonist sulpiride, or inhibitors of internalization (phenylarsine oxide and high molarity sucrose), blocked D2-agonist induced receptor internalization, thus validating this method in vitro. This approach therefore provides a direct and streamlined methodology for investigating the pharmacological and mechanistic aspects of D2R internalization, and should inform the interpretation of results from in vivo receptor imaging studies.
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