Tel.+49 30 838 53221 Fax.+49 30 838 53112
Various types of hereditary dystonia are regarded as a basal ganglia disorder, but the underlying mechanisms are still unknown. In the dt hamster, a genetic animal model of age-dependent paroxysmal dystonia, recent studies demonstrated a reduced density of striatal parvalbumin-immunoreactive (PV) GABAergic interneurons at an age of maximum severity of dystonia in comparison with age-matched nondystonic controls. So far, alterations of other types of striatal interneurons in dt hamsters cannot be excluded. Therefore, we determined the density of calretinin-immunoreactive (CR) interneurons in the dt mutant at an age of maximum severity and after spontaneous remission of dystonia in comparison with age-matched nondystonic controls using an image analysis system and a stereologic counting method in a blinded fashion. At an age of maximum severity of dystonia, CR interneuron density was significantly lower in dt hamsters in comparison with controls (-20%), whereas no significant differences between the animal groups could be detected after spontaneous remission of dystonia. The comparison of CR interneuron density between young hamsters with those at an age of > 90 days revealed a significant ontogenetic decrease of CR interneurons in both animal groups (dt hamsters: -38%, controls: -54%). These results demonstrate that alterations of striatal interneuron density in dt mutants are not restricted to PV ones. A deficit of CR interneurons that coexpress GABA may contribute to previous findings of disinhibition of striatal projection neurons in the dt mutant at an age of maximum expression of dystonia.