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Calcium-binding proteins immunoreactivity in the human subcortical and cortical visual structures

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 June 2009

G. Leuba
University Psychogeriatrics Hospital, CH-1008 Lausanne-Prilly, Switzerland
K. Saini
University Psychogeriatrics Hospital, CH-1008 Lausanne-Prilly, Switzerland


The distribution of neurons and fibers immunoreactive (ir) to the three calcium-binding proteins parvalbumin (PV), calbindin D-28k (CB), and calretinin (CR) was studied in the human lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), lateral inferior pulvinar, and optic radiation, and related to that in the visual cortex. In the LGN, PV, CR, and CB immunoreactivity was present in all laminae, slightly stronger in the magnocellular than in the parvocellular laminae for CB and CR. PV-ir puncta, representing transversally cut axons, and CR-ir fibers were revealed within the laminae and interlaminar zones, and just beyond the outer border of lamina 6 in the geniculate capsule. In the optic radiation both PV- and CR-immunoreactive neurons, puncta, and fibers were present. CB immunoreactivity was revealed in neurons of all laminae of the lateral geniculate nucleus, including S lamina and interlaminar zones. There were hardly any CB-ir puncta or fibers in the laminae, interlaminar zones, geniculate capsule, or optic radiation. In the lateral inferior pulvinar, immunoreactive neurons for the three calcium-binding proteins were present in smaller number than in the LGN, as well as PV-ir puncta and CR-ir fibers within the nucleus and in the pulvinar capsule. In the white matter underlying area 17, fibers intermingled with a few scattered neurons were stained for both PV and CR, but very rarely for CB. These fibers stopped at the limit between areas 17 and 18. Area 17 showed a dense plexus of PV-ir puncta and neurons in the thalamo-receptive layer IV and CR-ir puncta and neurons both in the superficial layers I-II, IIIC, and in layer VA. Cajal-Retzius CR-ir neurons were present in layer I. CB-ir puncta were almost confined to layer I-III and CB-ir neurons to layer II. Finally the superior colliculus exhibited mostly populations of PV and CR pyramidal-like immunoreactive neurons, mainly in the intermediate tier. These data suggest that in the visual thalamus most calcium-binding protein immunoreactive neurons project to the visual cortex, while in the superior colliculus a smaller immunoreactive population represent projection neurons.

Research Articles
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1996

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