Fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs) are essential for energy production and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid-related signaling in the brain and other tissues. Of various FABPs, heart-type fatty acid binding protein (H-FABP, FABP3) is highly expressed in neurons of mature brain and plays a role in arachidonic acid incorporation into brain and heart cells. However, the precise function of H-FABP in brain remains unclear. We previously demonstrated that H-FABP is associated with the dopamine D2 receptor long isoform (D2LR) in vitro. Here, we confirm that H-FABP binds to dopamineD2 receptor (D2R) in brain extracts and colocalizes immunohistochemically with D2R in the dorsal striatum. We show that H-FABP is highly expressed in acetylcholinergic interneurons and terminals of glutamatergic neurons in the dorsal striatum of mouse brain but absent in dopamine neuron terminals and spines in the same region. H-FABP knock-out (KO) mice showed lower responsiveness to methamphetamine-induced sensitization and enhanced haloperidol-induced catalepsy compared with wild-type mice, indicative of D2R dysfunction. Consistent with the latter, aberrant increased acetylcholine (ACh) release and depolarization-induced glutamate (Glu) release were observed in the dorsal striatum of H-FABP KO mice. Furthermore, phosphorylation of CaMKII (Ca 2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II) and ERK (extracellular signal-regulated kinase) was significantly increased in the dorsal striatum. We confirmed elevated ERK phosphorylation following quinpirole-mediated D2R stimulation in H-FABP-overexpressing SHSY-5Y human neuroblastoma cells. Together, H-FABP is highly expressed in ACh interneurons and glutamatergic terminals, thereby regulating dopamine D2R function in the striatum.
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