Immunohistochemical techniques were used to describe the distribution of the calcium binding proteins calretinin, calbindin and parvalbumin as well as synaptic vesicle protein 2 in the vestibular nuclei of the Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko). In addition, tract tracing was used to investigate connections between the vestibular nerves and brainstem nuclei. Seven vestibular nuclei were recognized: the nuclei cerebellaris lateralis (Cerl), vestibularis dorsolateralis (Vedl), ventrolateralis (Vevl), ventromedialis (Vevm), tangentialis (Vetg), ovalis (VeO) and descendens (Veds). Vestibular fibers entered the brainstem with the ascending branch projecting to Vedl and Cerl, the lateral descending branch to Veds, and the medial descending branch to ipsilateral Vevl. Cerl lay most rostral, in the cerebellar peduncle. Vedl, located rostrally, was ventral to the cerebellar peduncle, and consisted of loosely arranged multipolar and monopolar cells. Vevl was found at the level of the vestibular nerve root and contained conspicuously large cells and medium-sized cells. Veds is a large nucleus, the most rostral portion of which is situated lateral and ventral to Vevl, and occupies much of the dorsal brainstem extending caudally through the medulla. VeO is a spherically shaped cell group lateral to the auditory nucleus magnocellularis and dorsal to the caudal part of Vevl. Vevm and Vetg were small in the present study. Except for VeO, all other vestibular nuclei appear directly comparable to counterparts in other reptiles and birds based on their location, cytoarchitecture, and connections, indicating these are conserved features of the vestibular system.
While many factors contribute to aging, changes in calcium homeostasis and calcium related neuronal processes are likely to be important. High intracellular calcium is toxic to cells and alterations in calcium homeostasis are associated with changes in calcium-binding proteins, which confine free Ca2+. We therefore assayed the expression of the calcium binding proteins calretinin and calbindin in the central auditory nervous system of rats.
Using antibodies to calretinin and calbindin, we assayed their expression in the cochlear nucleus, superior olivary nucleus, inferior colliculus, medial geniculate body and auditory cortex of young (4 months old) and aged (24 months old) rats.
Calretinin and calbindin staining intensity in neurons of the cochlear nucleus was significantly higher in aged than in young rats (p<0.05) The number and staining intensity of calretinin-positive neurons in the inferior colliculus, and of calbindin-positive neurons in the superior olivary nucleus were greater in aged than in young rats (p<0.05).
These results suggest that auditory processing is altered during aging, which may be due to increased intracellular Ca2+ concentration, consequently leading to increased immunoreactivity toward calcium-binding proteins.
Calcium-binding proteins; Aging; Auditory pathway
The inferior colliculus (IC) plays a strategic role in the central auditory system in relaying and processing acoustical information, and therefore its age-related changes may significantly influence the quality of the auditory function. A very complex processing of acoustical stimuli occurs in the IC, as supported also by the fact that the rat IC contains more neurons than all other subcortical auditory structures combined. GABAergic neurons, which predominantly co-express parvalbumin (PV), are present in the central nucleus of the IC in large numbers and to a lesser extent in the dorsal and external/lateral cortices of the IC. On the other hand, calbindin (CB) and calretinin (CR) are prevalent in the dorsal and external cortices of the IC, with only a few positive neurons in the central nucleus. The relationship between CB and CR expression in the IC and any neurotransmitter system has not yet been well established, but the distribution and morphology of the immunoreactive neurons suggest that they are at least partially non-GABAergic cells. The expression of glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) (a key enzyme for GABA synthesis) and calcium binding proteins (CBPs) in the IC of rats undergoes pronounced changes with aging that involve mostly a decline in protein expression and a decline in the number of immunoreactive neurons. Similar age-related changes in GAD, CB, and CR expression are present in the IC of two rat strains with differently preserved inner ear function up to late senescence (Long-Evans and Fischer 344), which suggests that these changes do not depend exclusively on peripheral deafferentation but are, at least partially, of central origin. These changes may be associated with the age-related deterioration in the processing of the temporal parameters of acoustical stimuli, which is not correlated with hearing threshold shifts, and therefore may contribute to central presbycusis.
inferior colliculus; GABA; parvalbumin; calbindin; calretinin; aging; rat
We used tract tracing to reveal the connections of the auditory brainstem in the Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko). The auditory nerve has two divisions, a rostroventrally directed projection of mid- to high best-frequency fibers to the nucleus angularis (NA) and a more dorsal and caudal projection of low to middle best-frequency fibers that bifurcate to project to both the NA and the nucleus magnocellularis (NM). The projection to NM formed large somatic terminals and bouton terminals. NM projected bilaterally to the second-order nucleus laminaris (NL), such that the ipsilateral projection innervated the dorsal NL neuropil, whereas the contralateral projection crossed the midline and innervated the ventral dendrites of NL neurons. Neurons in NL were generally bitufted, with dorsoventrally oriented dendrites. NL projected to the contralateral torus semicircularis and to the contralateral ventral superior olive (SOv). NA projected to ipsilateral dorsal superior olive (SOd), sent a major projection to the contralateral SOv, and projected to torus semicircularis. The SOd projected to the contralateral SOv, which projected back to the ipsilateral NM, NL, and NA. These results suggest homologous patterns of auditory connections in lizards and archosaurs but also different processing of low- and high-frequency information in the brainstem.
auditory nerve; ITD; cochlear nuclei; superior olive; reptile; lizard; tract tracing; Tokay gecko
Growth-associated protein-43 is typically expressed at high levels in the nervous system during development. In adult animals, its expression is lower, but still observable in brain areas showing structural or functional plasticity. We examined patterns of GAP-43 immunoreactivity in the brain of the bullfrog, an animal whose nervous system undergoes considerable reorganization across metamorphic development and retains a strong capacity for plasticity in adulthood. Immunolabeling was mostly diffuse in hatchling tadpoles, but became progressively more discrete as larval development proceeded. In many brain areas, intensity of immunolabel peaked at metamorphic climax, the time of final transition from aquatic to semi-terrestrial life. Changes in intensity of GAP-43 expression in the medial vestibular nucleus, superior olivary nucleus, and torus semicircularis appeared correlated with stage-dependent functional changes in processing auditory stimuli. Immunolabeling in the Purkinje cell layer of the cerebellum and in the cerebellar nucleus was detectable at most developmental time points. Heavy immunolabel was present from early larval stages through the end of climax in the thalamus (ventromedial, anterior, posterior, central nuclei). Immunolabel in the tadpole telencephalon was observed around the lateral ventricles, and in the medial septum and ventral striatum. In postmetamorphic animals, immunoreactivity was confined mainly to the ventricular zones and immediately adjacent cell layers. GAP-43 expression was present in olfactory, auditory and optic cranial nerves throughout larval and postmetamorphic life. The continued expression of GAP-43 in brain nuclei and in cranial nerves throughout development and into adulthood reflects the high regenerative potential of the bullfrog’s central nervous system.
Growth-associated protein 43; Plasticity; Metamorphosis; Bullfrog; Midbrain; Forebrain; Cranial nerves
Computation of rate in auditory signals is essential to call recognition in anurans. This task is ascribed to a group of central nervous sytem nuclei in the dorsal midbrain or torus semicircularis, homologous to the inferior colliculus of mammals. We have mapped the connections of the subnuclei of the torus semicircularis in Xenopus laevis to determine which receive auditory and which receive lateral line information. Relative to terrestrial anurans, the torus of X. laevis is hypertrophied and occupies the entire caudal, dorsal midbrain. Auditory input to the torus, that arising directly from the dorsal medullary nucleus, is present only in the laminar nucleus. The principal and magnocellular nuclei receive their input from the lateral line nucleus of the medulla. All three nuclei of the torus also have reciprocal connections with the superior olive and the nucleus of the lateral lemniscus. Ascending efferents from all three nuclei of the torus innervate central and lateral thalamic nuclei, and all have a weak reciprocal connection with the posterior thalamus. The laminar and magnocellular nuclei have reciprocal connections with the ventral thalamus, and all three nuclei of the torus receive descending input from the anterior entopeduncular nucleus. The laminar and magnocellular nuclei also receive descending input from the preoptic area. Based on our identification of toral nuclei and these results we assign a major function for the detection of water-borne sounds to the laminar nucleus and a major function for the detection of near field disturbances in water pressure to the principal and magnocellular nuclei.
torus semicircularis; temporal processing; vocalizations; inferior colliculus
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmission in the lateral septum (LS) is implicated in modulating various behavioral processes, including emotional reactivity and maternal behavior. However, identifying the phenotype of GABAergic neurons in the CNS has been hampered by the longstanding inability to reliably detect somal immunoreactivity for GABA or glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD), the enzyme that produces GABA. In this study, we designed unique probes for both GAD65 (GAD2) and GAD67 (GAD1), and used fluorescence in Situ hybridization (FISH) with tyramide signal amplification (TSA) to achieve unequivocal detection of cell bodies of GABAergic neurons by GAD mRNAs. We quantitatively characterized the expression and chemical phenotype of GABAergic neurons across each subdivision of LS and in cingulate cortex (Cg) and medial preoptic area (MPOA) in female mice. Across LS, almost all GAD65 mRNA-expressing neurons were found to contain GAD67 mRNA (approximately 95-98%), while a small proportion of GAD67 mRNA-containing neurons did not express GAD65 mRNA (5-14%). Using the neuronal marker NeuN, almost every neuron in LS (> 90%) was also found to be GABA-positive. Interneuron markers using calcium-binding proteins showed that LS GABAergic neurons displayed immunoreactivity for calbindin (CB) or calretinin (CR), but not parvalbumin (PV); almost all CB- or CR-immunoreactive neurons (98-100%) were GABAergic. The proportion of GABAergic neurons immunoreactive for CB or CR varied depending on the subdivisions examined, with the highest percentage of colocalization in the caudal intermediate LS (LSI) (approximately 58% for CB and 35% for CR). These findings suggest that the vast majority of GABAergic neurons within the LS have the potential for synthesizing GABA via the dual enzyme systems GAD65 and GAD67, and each subtype of GABAergic neurons identified by distinct calcium-binding proteins may exert unique roles in the physiological function and neuronal circuitry of the LS.
The midbrain nucleus mesencephalicus lateralis pars dorsalis (MLd) is thought to be the avian homologue of the central nucleus of the mammalian inferior colliculus. As such, it is a major relay in the ascending auditory pathway of all birds and in songbirds mediates the auditory feedback necessary for the learning and maintenance of song. To clarify the organization of MLd, we applied three calcium binding protein antibodies to tissue sections from the brains of adult male and female zebra finches. The staining patterns resulting from the application of parvalbumin, calbindin and calretinin antibodies differed from each other and in different parts of the nucleus. Parvalbumin-like immunoreactivity was distributed throughout the whole nucleus, as defined by the totality of the terminations of brainstem auditory afferents; in other words parvalbumin-like immunoreactivity defines the boundaries of MLd. Staining patterns of parvalbumin, calbindin and calretinin defined two regions of MLd: inner (MLd.I) and outer (MLd.O). MLd.O largely surrounds MLd.I and is distinct from the surrounding intercollicular nucleus. Unlike the case in some non-songbirds, however, the two MLd regions do not correspond to the terminal zones of the projections of the brainstem auditory nuclei angularis and laminaris, which have been found to overlap substantially throughout the nucleus in zebra finches.
Positive immunoreactivity to the calcium-binding protein parvalbumin (PV) and nitric oxide synthase NADPH-diaphorase (NADPHd) is well documented within neurons of the central auditory system of both rodents and primates. These proteins are thought to play roles in the regulation of auditory processing. Studies examining the age-related changes in expression of these proteins have been conducted primarily in rodents but are sparse in primate models. In the brainstem, the superior olivary complex (SOC) is crucial for the computation of sound source localization in azimuth, and one hallmark of age-related hearing deficits is a reduced ability to localize sounds. To investigate how these histochemical markers change as a function of age and hearing loss, we studied eight rhesus macaques ranging in age from 12 to 35 years. Auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) were obtained in anesthetized animals for click and tone stimuli. The brainstems of these same animals were then stained for PV and NADPHd reactivity. Reactive neurons in the three nuclei of the SOC were counted, and the densities of each cell type were calculated. We found that PV and NADPHd expression increased with both age and ABR thresholds in the medial superior olive but not in either the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body or the lateral superior olive. Together these results suggest that the changes in protein expression employed by the SOC may compensate for the loss of efficacy of auditory sensitivity in the aged primate.
NADPH-diaphorase; parvalbumin; brainstem; ABR; monkey; geriatric; aging
The concave-eared torrent frog, Odorrana tormota, has evolved the extraordinary ability to communicate ultrasonically (i.e., using frequencies > 20 kHz), and electrophysiological experiments have demonstrated that neurons in the frog’s midbrain (torus semicircularis) respond to frequencies up to 34 kHz. However, at this time, it is unclear which region(s) of the torus and what other brainstem nuclei are involved in the detection of ultrasound. To gain insight into the anatomical substrate of ultrasound detection, we mapped expression of the activity-dependent gene, egr-1, in the brain in response to a full-spectrum mating call, a filtered, ultrasound-only call, and no sound. We found that the ultrasound-only call elicited egr-1 expression in the superior olivary and principal nucleus of the torus semicircularis. In sampled areas of the principal nucleus, the ultrasound-only call tended to evoke higher egr-1 expression than the full-spectrum call and, in the center of the nucleus, induced significantly higher egr-1 levels than the no-sound control. In the superior olivary nucleus, the full-spectrum and ultrasound-only calls evoked similar levels of expression that were significantly greater than the control, and egr-1 induction in the laminar nucleus showed no evidence of acoustic modulation. These data suggest that the sampled areas of the principal nucleus are among the regions sensitive to ultrasound in this species.
Ultrasonic communication; Anuran amphibian; Sensory physiology; Playback; China
The vestibular nuclear complex (VNC) is classically divided into four nuclei on the basis of cytoarchitectonics. However, anatomical data on the distribution of afferents to the VNC and the distribution of cells of origin of different efferent pathways suggest a more complex internal organization. Immunoreactivity for calcium-binding proteins has proven useful in many areas of the brain for revealing structure not visible with cell, fiber or Golgi stains. We have looked at the VNC of the cat using immunoreactivity for the calcium-binding proteins calbindin, calretinin and parvalbumin. Immunoreactivity for calretinin revealed a small, intensely stained region of cell bodies and processes just beneath the fourth ventricle in the medial vestibular nucleus. A presumably homologous region has been described in rodents. The calretinin-immunoreactive cells in this region were also immunoreactive for choline acetyltransferase. Evidence from other studies suggests that the calretinin region contributes to pathways involved in eye movement modulation but not generation. There were focal dense regions of fibers immunoreactive to calbindin in the medial and inferior nuclei, with an especially dense region of label at the border of the medial nucleus and the nucleus prepositus hypoglossi. There is anatomical evidence that suggests that the likely source of these calbindin-immunoreactive fibers is the flocculus of the cerebellum. The distribution of calbindin-immunoreactive fibers in the lateral and superior nuclei was much more uniform. Immunoreactivity to parvalbumin was widespread in fibers distributed throughout the VNC. The results suggest that neurochemical techniques may help to reveal the internal complexity in VNC organization.
Vestibular nerve; Calbindin; Calretinin; Parvalbumin; Purkinje cells; Flocculus; Nodulus; BC: brachium conjunctivum; BP: brachium pontis; CD: dorsal cochlear nucleus; CGL: cochlear granular layer; CUR: cuneate nucleus, rostral division; CVA: ventral cochlear nucleus; CX: external cuneate nucleus; DMV: dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus; FTG: gigantocellular tegmental field of the reticular formation; FTL: lateral tegmental field of the reticular formation; INT: nucleus intercalatus; MLF: medial longitudinal fasciculus; PT: pyramidal tract; PH: nucleus prepositus hypoglossi; RB: restiform body; S: solitary tract; SA: stria acoustica; SM: medial nucleus of the solitary tract; TB: trapezoid body; VIN: inferior vestibular nucleus; VLD: lateral vestibular nucleus, dorsal division; VLV: lateral vestibular nucleus, ventral division; VMN: medial vestibular nucleus; VNC: vestibular nuclear complex; VSL: superior vestibular nucleus, lateral division; VSM: superior vestibular nucleus, medial division; 5P: principal sensory trigeminal nucleus; 5SM: alaminar spinal trigeminal nucleus, magnocellular division; 5ST: spinal trigeminal tract; 6: sixth cranial nerve nucleus; 7N: seventh cranial nerve; 7G: genu of the seventh cranial nerve; 8N: eighth cranial nerve; 12: twelfth cranial nerve nucleus
Subcortical auditory structures in the macaque auditory system increase their densities of neurons expressing the calcium binding protein parvalbumin (PV) with age. However, it is unknown whether these increases occur in the thalamic division of the auditory system, the medial geniculate nucleus (MGN). Furthermore, it is also unclear whether these age-related changes are specific to the macaque auditory system or are generalized to other sensory systems. To address these questions, the PV immunoreactivity of the medial and lateral geniculate nuclei (LGN) from seven rhesus macaques ranging in age from 15 to 35 was assessed. Densities of PV expressing neurons in the three subdivisions of the MGN and the six layers of the LGN were calculated separately using unbiased stereological sampling techniques. We found that the ventral and magnocellular subdivisions of the MGN and all six layers of the LGN increased their expressions of PV with age, although increases in the MGN were greater in magnitude than in the LGN. Together, these results suggest that the MGN shows age-related increases in PV expression as is seen throughout the macaque ascending auditory system, and that the analogous region of the visual system shows smaller increases. We conclude that, while there are some similarities between sensory systems, the age-related neurochemical changes seen throughout the macaque auditory system cannot be fully generalized to other sensory systems.
parvalbumin; thalamus; medial geniculate; lateral geniculate; monkey; geriatric
Studies in the vertebrates have shown that the time-locking ability of central auditory neurons decreases progressively along the ascending auditory pathway. This decrease is presumably attributed to a progressive reduction in the fidelity of synaptic transmission and an increase in the influence of synaptic inhibition along the cascade. The extent to which neurons’ intrinsic biophysical properties contribute to the change in time-locking ability is unclear. We carried out whole-cell patch clamp recordings from the auditory thalamus of leopard frogs and compared their biophysical properties and time-locking abilities (determined by cell’s responses to depolarizing pulse trains applied intracellularly) to those of lower auditory brainstem neurons. We found that frog thalamic neurons were homogeneous, exhibiting uniformly sustained-regular firing patterns, but not having low-threshold transient Ca2+ current which mammal thalamic neurons generally possess. Furthermore, intrinsic biophysical properties of the thalamic neurons are such that the time-locking ability of these neurons was very poor. The homogeneity of thalamic auditory neurons is in contrast to the heterogeneity of lower auditory brainstem neurons, with different phenotypes exhibiting different time-locking abilities and with sustained-regular phenotype consistently showing the worst time-locking ability among all biophysical phenotypes. Auditory nuclei along the ascending auditory pathway showed a progressive increase in the population of sustained-regular phenotype – this corresponded to a systematic decrease in the overall time-locking ability, with neurons in the dorsal medullary nucleus showing the best, and thalamic neurons exhibiting the poorest, time-locking ability, whereas neurons in the torus semicircularis displayed intermediate time-locking ability. These results suggest that the biophysical characteristics of single neurons also likely play a role in the change in temporal coding ability along the ascending auditory pathway.
Corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) has been localized to interneurons of the mammalian cerebral cortex, but these neurons have not been fully characterized. The present study determined the extent of colocalization of CRH with glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) and calcium-binding proteins in the infant rat neocortex using immunocytochemistry. CRH-immunoreactive (ir) neurons were classified into two major groups. The first group was larger and consisted of densely CRH-immunostained small bipolar cells, predominantly localized to layers II and III. The second group of CRH-ir cells was lightly labeled and included multipolar neurons mainly found in deep cortical layers. Co-localization studies indicated that the vast majority of CRH-ir neurons, including both bipolar and multipolar types, was co-immunolabeled for GAD-65 and GAD-67. Most multipolar, but only some bipolar, CRH-ir neurons also contained parvalbumin, while CRH-ir neurons rarely contained calbindin or calretinin. These results indicate that virtually all CRH-ir neurons in the rat cerebral cortex are GABA-ergic. Furthermore, since parvalbumin is expressed by cortical basket and chandelier cells, the colocalization of CRH and parvalbumin suggests that some cortical CRH-ir neurons may belong to these two cell types.
Neuropeptides; Parvalbumin; GABA; Cerebral cortex; Basket cells; Chandelier cells
Songbirds have the rare ability of auditory-vocal learning and maintenance. Up to now, the organization and function of the nucleus magnocellularis (NM), the first relay of the avian ascending auditory pathway is largely based on studies in non-vocal learning species, such as chickens and owls. To investigate whether NM exhibits different histochemical properties associated with auditory processing in songbirds, we examined the expression patterns of three calcium-binding proteins (CaBPs), including calretinin (CR), parvalbumin (PV) and calbindin-D28k (CB), and their relations to auditory inputs in NM in adult zebra finches. We found enriched and co-localized immunostaining of CR, PV and CB in the majority of NM neurons, without neuronal population preference. Furthermore, they were sensitive to adult deafferentation with differential plasticity patterns. After unilateral cochlear removal, CR staining in the ipsilateral NM decreased appreciably at 3 days after surgery, and continued to decline thereafter. PV staining showed down-regulation first at 3 days, but subsequently recovered slightly. CB staining did not significantly decrease until 7 days after surgery. Our findings suggest that the three CaBPs might play distinct roles in association with auditory processing in zebra finches. These results are in contrast to the findings in the NM of chickens where CR is the predominant CaBP and deafferentation had no apparent effect on its expression. Further extended studies in other avian species are required to establish whether the difference in CaBP patterns in NM is functionally related to the different auditory-vocal behaviors.
The depletion of neuronal calcium binding proteins deprives neurons of the capacity to buffer high levels of intracellular Ca2+ and this leaves them vulnerable to pathological processes, such as those present in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The aim of the present study was to investigate the expression of the calcium binding proteins, calbindin-D28K, calretinin and parvalbumin in the dentate gyrus (DG) of APP/PS1 transgenic mice and their non-Tg littermates, as well as the relation with the deposition of human Aβ. We measured the expression of these three proteins at seven different rostro-caudal levels, and in the molecular, granular and polymorphic layers of the DG. We found that, except in the most caudal part of the DG, there is a substantial loss of calbindin-D28K immunoreactivity in all three layers of the DG in APP/PS1 mice compared to the non-Tg mice. Significant loss of calretinin immunoreactivity is present in most of the polymorphic layer of the DG of APP/PS1 mice compared to the non-Tg mice, as well as in the rostral and intermediate part of the inner molecular layer. Compared to the non-Tg mice parvalbumin immunoreactivity is significantly reduced throughout the whole polymorphic layer as well as in the rostral and intermediate part of the granular layer of DG in APP/PS1 mice. The relatively preservation of calbindin immunoreactivity in the caudal part of molecular and granular layers as well as calretinin immunoreactivity in the caudal part of polymorphic layer of the DG is likely related to the lower Aβ expression in those parts of DG. The present data suggest an involvement of calcium-dependent pathways in the pathogenesis of AD and indicate that there exists a subfield and layer-specific decrease in immunoreactivity which is related to the type of calcium-binding protein in APP/PS1 mice. Moreover, it seems that APP expression affects more the calbindin expression then parvalbumin and calretinin expression in the DG of APP/PS1 transgenic mice.
Alzheimer’s disease; calcium binding protein; hippocampus; human Aβ
Acetylcholine (ACh) is believed to underlie mechanisms of arousal and attention in mammals. ACh also has a demonstrated functional effect in visual cortex that is both diverse and profound. We have reported previously that cholinergic modulation in V1 of the macaque monkey is strongly targeted toward GABAergic interneurons. Here we examine the localization of m1 and m2 muscarinic receptor subtypes across subpopulations of GABAergic interneurons—identified by their expression of the calcium-binding proteins parvalbumin, calbindin, and calretinin—using dual-immunofluorescence confocal microscopy in V1 of the macaque monkey. In doing so, we find that the vast majority (87%) of parvalbumin-immunoreactive neurons express m1-type muscarinic ACh receptors. m1 receptors are also expressed by 60% of calbindin-immunoreactive neurons and 40% of calretinin-immunoreactive neurons. m2 AChRs, on the other hand, are expressed by only 31% of parvalbumin neurons, 23% of calbindin neurons, and 25% of calretinin neurons. Parvalbumin-immunoreactive cells comprise ≈75% of the inhibitory neuronal population in V1 and included in this large subpopulation are neurons known to veto and regulate the synchrony of principal cell spiking. Through the expression of m1 ACh receptors on nearly all of these PV cells, the cholinergic system avails itself of powerful control of information flow through and processing within the network of principal cells in the cortical circuit.
cholinergic; neuromodulation; GABAergic; striate cortex; immunofluorescence; dual-labeling; calcium-binding proteins; calbindin; calretinin; parvalbumin
We have characterized the neurochemical organization of a small brainstem nucleus in the human brain, the nucleus paramedianus dorsalis (PMD). PMD is located adjacent and medial to the nucleus prepositus hypoglossi (PH) in the dorsal medulla, and is distinguished by the pattern of immunoreactivity of cells and fibers to several markers including calcium-binding proteins, a synthetic enzyme for nitric oxide (neuronal nitric oxide synthase, nNOS) and a nonphosphorylated neurofilament protein (antibody SMI-32). In transverse sections, PMD is oval with its long axis aligned with the dorsal border of the brainstem. We identified PMD in eight human brainstems, but found some variability both in its cross-sectional area and in its AP extent among cases. It includes calretinin immunoreactive large cells with oval or polygonal cell bodies. Cells in PMD are not immunoreactive for either calbindin or parvalbumin, but a few fibers immunoreactive to each protein are found within its central region. Cells in PMD are also immunoreactive to nNOS, and immunoreactivity to a neurofilament protein shows many labeled cells and fibers. No similar region is identified in atlases of the cat, mouse, rat or monkey brain, nor does immunoreactivity to any of the markers that delineate it in the human reveal a comparable region in those species. The territory that PMD occupies is included in PH in other species. Since anatomical and physiological data in animals suggest that PH may have multiple subregions, we suggest that the PMD in human may be a further differentiation of PH, and may have functions related to the vestibular control of eye movements.
eye movements; nucleus prepositus hypoglossi; calretinin; calbindin; parvalbumin; cerebellum; nitric oxide; vestibular nuclear complex
Neurochemical changes in the expression of various proteins within the central auditory system have been associated with natural aging. These changes may compensate in part for the loss of auditory sensitivity arising from two phenomena of the aging auditory system: cochlear histopathologies and increased excitability of central auditory neurons. Recent studies in the macaque monkey have revealed age-related changes in the density of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH)-diaphorase (NADPHd) and parvalbumin (PV)-positive cells within the inferior colliculus and superior olivary complex. The cochlear nucleus (CN), which is the first central auditory nucleus, remains unstudied. Since the CN participates in the generation of the auditory brainstem response (ABR) and receives direct innervation from the cochlea, it serves as an ideal nucleus to compare the relationship between these neurochemical changes and the physiological and peripheral changes of the aging auditory system. We used stereological sampling to calculate the densities of NADPHd and PV reactive neurons within the three subdivisions of the CN in middle-aged and aged rhesus macaques. Regression analyses of these values with ABR properties and cochlear histopathologies revealed relationships between these cell types and the changing characteristics of the aging auditory system. Our results indicate that NADPHd expression does change with age in a specific subdivision of the CN, but PV does not. Conversely, PV expression correlated with ABR amplitudes and outer hair cell loss in the cochlea, but NADPHd did not. These results indicate that NADPHd and PV may take part in distinct compensatory efforts of the aging auditory system.
NADPH-diaphorase; parvalbumin; brainstem; ABR; monkey; geriatric; aging
Auditory information is important for social and reproductive behaviors in birds generally, but is crucial for oscine species (songbirds), in particular because in these species auditory feedback ensures the learning and accurate maintenance of song. While there is considerable information on the auditory projections through the forebrain of songbirds, there is no information available for projections through the brainstem. At the latter levels the prevalent model of auditory processing in birds derives from an auditory specialist, the barn owl, which uses time and intensity parameters to compute the location of sounds in space, but whether the auditory brainstem of songbirds is similarly functionally organized is unknown. To examine the songbird auditory brainstem we charted the projections of the cochlear nuclei angularis (NA) and magnocellularis (NM) and the third-order nucleus laminaris (NL) in zebra finches using standard tract-tracing techniques. As in other avian species, the projections of NM were found to be confined to NL, and NL and NA provided the ascending projections. Here we report on differential projections of NA and NL to the torus semicircularis, known in birds as nucleus mesencephalicus lateralis, pars dorsalis (MLd), and in mammals as the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus (ICc). Unlike the case in nonsongbirds, the projections of NA and NL to MLd in the zebra finch showed substantial overlap, in agreement with the projections of the cochlear nuclei to the ICc in mammals. This organization could suggest that the “what” of auditory stimuli is as important as “where.”
cochlear nuclei; central nucleus of inferior colliculus; MLd; zebra finch; avian
Cholinergic and GABAergic corticopetal neurons in the basal forebrain play important roles in cortical activation, sensory processing, and attention. Cholinergic neurons are intermingled with peptidergic, and various calcium binding protein-containing cells, however, the functional role of these neurons is not well understood. In this study we examined the expression pattern of secretagogin (Scgn), a newly described calcium-binding protein, in neurons of the basal forebrain. We also assessed some of the corticopetal projections of Scgn neurons and their co-localization with choline acetyltransferase (ChAT), neuropeptide-Y, and other calcium-binding proteins (i.e., calbindin, calretinin, and parvalbumin). Scgn is expressed in cell bodies of the medial and lateral septum, vertical and horizontal diagonal band nuclei, and of the extension of the amygdala but it is almost absent in the ventral pallidum. Scgn is co-localized with ChAT in neurons of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, extension of the amygdala, and interstitial nucleus of the posterior limb of the anterior commissure. Scgn was co-localized with calretinin in the accumbens nucleus, medial division of the bed nucleus of stria terminalis, the extension of the amygdala, and interstitial nucleus of the posterior limb of the anterior commissure. We have not found co-expression of Scgn with parvalbumin, calbindin, or neuropeptide-Y. Retrograde tracing studies using Fluoro Gold in combination with Scgn-specific immunohistochemistry revealed that Scgn neurons situated in the nucleus of the horizontal limb of the diagonal band project to retrosplenial and cingulate cortical areas.
basal forebrain; calcium-binding proteins; choline acetyltransferase; co-localization; cortical projection
Calcium (Ca2+) is an intracellular second messenger associated with neuronal plasticity of the central nervous system. The calcium-binding proteins regulate the Ca2+-mediated signals in the cytoplasm and buffer the calcium concentration. This study examined temporal changes of three calcium-binding proteins (calretinin, calbindin and parvalbumin) in the medial vestibular nucleus (MVN) during vestibular compensation after unilateral labyrinthectomy (UL) in rats. Rats underwent UL, and the changes in the expression of these proteins at 2, 6, 12, 24, 48, and 72 h were examined by immunofluorescence staining. The expression levels of all three proteins increased immediately after UL and returned to the control level by 48 h. However, the level of calretinin showed changes different from the other two proteins, being expressed at significantly higher level in the contralateral MVN than in the ipsilateral MVN 2 h after UL, whereas the other two proteins showed similar expression levels in both the ipsilateral and contralateral MVN. These results suggest that the calcium binding proteins have some protective activity against the increased Ca2+ levels in the MVN. In particular, calretinin might be more responsive to neuronal activity than calbindin or parvalbumin.
Calcium-binding proteins; Medial vestibular nuclei; Vestibular compensation
Large morphological sex differences in the vertebrate brain were initially identified in song control nuclei of oscines. Besides gross differences between volumes of nuclei in males and females, sex differences also concern the size and dendritic arborization of neurons and various neurochemical markers, such as the calcium-binding protein parvalbumin (PV). Perineuronal nets (PNN) of the extracellular matrix are aggregates of different compounds, mainly chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans, that surround subsets of neurons, often expressing PV. PNN develop in zebra finches song control nuclei around the end of the sensitive period for song learning and tutor deprivation, known to delay the end of the song learning sensitive period, decreases the numbers of PNN in HVC. We demonstrate here the existence in zebra finches of a major sex difference (males > females) affecting the number of PNN (especially those surrounding PV-positive cells) in HVC and to a smaller extent the robust nucleus of the arcopallium, RA, the two main nuclei controlling song production. These differences were not present in Area X and LMAN, the lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium. A dense expression of material immunoreactive for chondroitin sulfate was also detected in several nuclei of the auditory and visual pathways. This material was often organized in perineuronal rings but quantification of these PNN did not reveal any sex difference with the exception that the percentage of PNN surrounding PV-ir cells in the dorsal lateral mesencephalic nucleus, MLd, was larger in females than in males, a sex difference in the opposite direction compared to what is seen in HVC and RA. These data confirm and extend previous studies demonstrating the sex difference affecting PNN in HVC-RA by showing that this sex difference is anatomically specific and does not concern visual or auditory pathways.
The vesicular glutamate transporters (VGLUTs) regulate storage and release of glutamate in the brain. In adult animals, the VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 isoforms are widely expressed and differentially distributed, suggesting that neural circuits exhibit distinct modes of glutamate regulation. Studies in rodents suggest that VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 mRNA expression patterns are partly complementary, with VGLUT1 expressed at higher levels in cortex and VGLUT2 prominent subcortically, but with overlapping distributions in some nuclei. In primates, VGLUT gene expression has not been previously studied in any part of the brain. The purposes of the present study were to document the regional expression of VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 mRNA in the auditory pathway through A1 in cortex, and to determine whether their distributions are comparable to rodents. In situ hybridization with antisense riboprobes revealed that VGLUT2 was strongly expressed by neurons in the cerebellum and most major auditory nuclei, including the dorsal and ventral cochlear nuclei, medial and lateral superior olivary nuclei, central nucleus of the inferior colliculus, sagulum, and all divisions of the medial geniculate. VGLUT1 was densely expressed in the hippocampus and ventral cochlear nuclei, and at reduced levels in other auditory nuclei. In auditory cortex, neurons expressing VGLUT1 were widely distributed in layers II – VI of the core, belt and parabelt regions. VGLUT2 was most strongly expressed by neurons in layers IIIb and IV, weakly by neurons in layers II – IIIa, and at very low levels in layers V – VI. The findings indicate that VGLUT2 is strongly expressed by neurons at all levels of the subcortical auditory pathway, and by neurons in the middle layers of cortex, whereas VGLUT1 is strongly expressed by most if not all glutamatergic neurons in auditory cortex and at variable levels among auditory subcortical nuclei. These patterns imply that VGLUT2 is the main vesicular glutamate transporter in subcortical and thalamocortical (TC) circuits, whereas VGLUT1 is dominant in cortico-cortical (CC) and cortico-thalamic (CT) systems of projections. The results also suggest that VGLUT mRNA expression patterns in primates are similar to rodents, and establishes a baseline for detailed studies of these transporters in selected circuits of the auditory system.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impairments in social interaction and deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication, together with the presence of repetitive behaviors or a limited repertoire of activities and interests. The causes of autism are currently unclear. In a previous study, we determined that 21% of children with autism have plasma autoantibodies that are immunoreactive with a population of neurons in the cerebellum that appear to be Golgi cells, which are GABAergic interneurons.
We have extended this analysis by examining plasma immunoreactivity in the remainder of the brain. To determine cell specificity, double-labeling studies that included one of the calcium-binding proteins that are commonly colocalized in GABAergic neurons (calbindin, parvalbumin or calretinin) were also carried out to determine which GABAergic neurons are immunoreactive. Coronal sections through the rostrocaudal extent of the macaque monkey brain were reacted with plasma from each of seven individuals with autism who had previously demonstrated positive Golgi cell staining, as well as six negative controls. In addition, brain sections from adult male mice were similarly examined.
In each case, specific staining was observed for neurons that had the morphological appearance of interneurons. By double-labeling sections with plasma and with antibodies directed against γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), we determined that all autoantibody-positive neurons were GABAergic. However, not all GABAergic neurons were autoantibody-positive. Calbindin was colabeled in several of the autoantibody-labeled cells, while parvalbumin colabeling was less frequently observed. Autoantibody-positive cells rarely expressed calretinin. Sections from the mouse brain processed similarly to the primate sections also demonstrated immunoreactivity to interneurons distributed throughout the neocortex and many subcortical regions. Some cell populations stained in the primate (such as the Golgi neurons in the cerebellum) were not as robustly immunoreactive in the mouse brain.
These results suggest that the earlier report of autoantibody immunoreactivity to specific cells in the cerebellum extend to other regions of the brain. Further, these findings confirm the autoantibody-targeted cells to be a subpopulation of GABAergic interneurons. The potential impact of these autoantibodies on GABAergic disruption with respect to the etiology of autism is discussed herein.