Neurobiology of Disease vol:48 (2012) pages:582-593
In spite of a clear genetic link between Parkinson's disease (PD) and mutations in LRRK2, cellular localization and physiological function of LRRK2 remain debated. Here we demonstrate the immunohistochemical localization of LRRK2 in adult mouse and early postnatal mouse brain development. Antibody specificity is verified by absence of specific staining in LRRK2 knockout mouse brain. Although LRRK2 is expressed in various mouse brain regions (i.e. cortex, thalamus, hippocampus, cerebellum), strongest expression is detected in striatum, whereas LRRK2 protein expression in substantia nigra pars compacta in contrast is low. LRRK2 is highly expressed in striatal medium spiny neurons (MSN) and few cholinergic interneurons. LRRK2 expression is undetectable in other interneurons, oligodendrocytes or astrocytes of the striatum. Interestingly, LRRK2 expression is associated with striosome specific markers (i.e. MOR1, RASGRP1). Analysis of LRRK2 expression during early postnatal development and in LRRK2 knockout mice, demonstrates that LRRK2 is not required for generation or maintenance of the striosome compartment. Comparing LRRK2-WT, LRRK2-R1441G transgenic and non-transgenic mice, changes of LRRK2 expression in striosome/matrix compartments can be detected. The findings rule out a specific requirement of LRRK2 in striosome genesis but suggest a functional role for LRRK2 in striosomes.