The locus coeruleus (LC) has been studied in major depressive disorder (MDD) and bipolar disorder (BD). A major problem of immunocytochemical studies in the human LC is interference with the staining of the immunocytochemical end-product by the omnipresent natural brown pigment neuromelanin. Here, we used a multispectral method to untangle the two colors: blue immunocytochemical staining and brown neuromelanin. We found significantly increased tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in the LC of MDD patients-thus validating the method-but not in BD patients, and we did not find significant changes in the receptor tyrosine-protein kinase ErbB4 in the LC in MDD or BD patients. We observed clear co-localization of ErbB4, TH, and neuromelanin in the LC neurons. The different stress-related molecular changes in the LC may contribute to the different clinical symptoms in MDD and BD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-215
JournalNeuroscience Bulletin
Volume35
DOI
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019

ID: 9526729