Structures of the cerebral cortex expressing the D2 dopamine receptor subtype (D2) are important sites of action of antipsychotic drugs. It has also been repeatedly suggested that the prefrontal cortex plays a significant role in neuropsychiatrie disorders, including schizophrenia. Here, by using single and double immunohistochemical techniques with electron microscopy, we investigated in the primate prefrontal cortex the ultrastructural localization of D2 and we compared it with that of the neuronal calcium sensor-1 (NCS-1), a neuron-specific calcium-binding and D 2-interacting protein. D2 immunoreactivity, revealed with preembedding immunoperoxidase in single labeling and with preembedding immunogold for double labeling, was localized in cell bodies with ultrastructural characteristics of both neurons and astroglia. D2 was localized in pre- and postsynaptic structures, including spines and dendrites, and in both excitatory- and inhibitory-like axon terminals. Immunogold labeling revealed peri- and extrasynaptic localization of D2 in postsynaptic structures, whereas extrasynaptic labeling was typically found in boutons. NSC-1 immunoreactivity was abundant in pre- and postsynaptic structures, in which it was also colocalized with D2. With the present strategy (that has high resolution but relatively limited sensitivity), NSC-1 was observed in about 10% of the D2-immunopositive spines and in a lower proportion of D2-immunopositive dendrites and boutons. The data demonstrate the localization of D2 in pre- and postsynaptic as well as extra- and perisynaptic structures of the primate prefrontal cortex. The data also show the coexistence of NCS-1 and D2 at the ultrastructural level. The latter finding suggests a role for NCS-1 in desensitization of D2 in the prefrontal cortex.
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