Synapsins differentially control dopamine and serotonin release. Academic Article uri icon


  • Synapsins are a family of synaptic vesicle proteins that are important for neurotransmitter release. Here we have used triple knock-out (TKO) mice lacking all three synapsin genes to determine the roles of synapsins in the release of two monoamine neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin. Serotonin release evoked by electrical stimulation was identical in substantia nigra pars reticulata slices prepared from TKO and wild-type mice. In contrast, release of dopamine in response to electrical stimulation was approximately doubled in striatum of TKO mice, both in vivo and in striatal slices, in comparison to wild-type controls. This was due to loss of synapsin III, because deletion of synapsin III alone was sufficient to increase dopamine release. Deletion of synapsins also increased the sensitivity of dopamine release to extracellular calcium ions. Although cocaine did not affect the release of serotonin from nigral tissue, this drug did enhance dopamine release. Cocaine-induced facilitation of dopamine release was a function of external calcium, an effect that was reduced in TKO mice. We conclude that synapsins play different roles in the control of release of dopamine and serotonin, with release of dopamine being negatively regulated by synapsins, specifically synapsin III, while serotonin release appears to be relatively independent of synapsins. These results provide further support for the concept that synapsin function in presynaptic terminals varies according to the neurotransmitter being released.

publication date

  • July 21, 2010