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INVITED REVIEW
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 12  |  Page : 1904-1909

Two-step production of monoamines in monoenzymatic cells in the spinal cord: a different control strategy of neurotransmitter supply?


Neuronano Research Center, Department of Experimental Medical Science, Lund University, Lund, Sweden; Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Correspondence Address:
Mengliang Zhang
Neuronano Research Center, Department of Experimental Medical Science, Lund University, Lund, Sweden; Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

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Source of Support: This work was supported by the Crafoord Foundation, the Lundbeck Foundation and the Danish Medical Research Council., Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1673-5374.197124

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Monoamine neurotransmitters play an important role in the modulation of sensory, motor and autonomic functions in the spinal cord. Although traditionally it is believed that in mammalian spinal cord, monoamine neurotransmitters mainly originate from the brain, accumulating evidence indicates that especially when the spinal cord is injured, they can also be produced in the spinal cord. In this review, I will present evidence for a possible pathway for two-step synthesis of dopamine and serotonin in the spinal cord. Published data from different sources and unpublished data from my own ongoing projects indicate that monoenzymatic cells expressing aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC), tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) or tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH) are present in the spinal cord and that these TH and THP cells often lie in close proximity to AADC cells. Prompted by the above evidence, I hypothesize that dopamine and serotonin could be synthesized sequentially in two monoenzymatic cells in the spinal cord via a TH-AADC and a TPH-AADC cascade respectively. The monoamines synthesized through this pathway may compensate for lost neurotransmitters following spinal cord injury and also may play specific roles in the recovery of sensory, motor and autonomic functions.


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