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 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.
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
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
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
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
Interneurons expressing the calcium-binding protein parvalbumin (PV) are a critical component of the inhibitory circuitry of the basolateral nuclear complex (BLC) of the mammalian amygdala. These neurons form interneuronal networks interconnected by chemical and electrical synapses, and provide a strong perisomatic inhibition of local pyramidal projection neurons. Immunohistochemical studies in rodents have shown that most PV-positive (PV+) cells are GABAergic interneurons that co-express the calcium-binding protein calbindin (CB), but exhibit no overlap with interneuronal subpopulations containing the calcium-binding protein calretinin (CR) or neuropeptides. Despite the importance of identifying interneuronal subpopulations for clarifying the major players in the inhibitory circuitry of the BLC, very little is known about these subpopulations in primates. Therefore, in the present investigation dual-labeling immunofluorescence histochemical techniques were used to characterize PV+ interneurons in the basal and lateral nuclei of the monkey amygdala. These studies revealed that 90–94% of PV+ neurons were GABA+, depending on the nucleus, and that these neurons constituted 29–38 % of the total GABAergic population. CB+ and CR+ interneurons constituted 31–46% and 23–27%, respectively, of GABAergic neurons. Approximately one-quarter of PV+ neurons contained CB, and these cells constituted one-third of the CB+ interneuronal population. There was no colocalization of PV with the neuropeptides somatostatin or cholecystokinin, and virtually no colocalization with CR. These data indicate that the neurochemical characteristics of the PV+ interneuronal subpopulation in the monkey BLC are fairly similar to those seen in the rat, but there is far less colocalization of PV and CB in the monkey. These findings suggest that PV+ neurons are a discrete interneuronal subpopulation in the monkey BLC and undoubtedly play a unique functional role in the inhibitory circuitry of this brain region.
gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA); calbindin; calretinin; somatostatin; cholecystokinin
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
Binaural computations involving the convergence of excitatory and inhibitory inputs have been proposed to explain directional sharpening and frequency tuning documented in the brainstem of a teleost fish, the oyster toadfish (Opsanus tau). To assess the presence of inhibitory neurons in the ascending auditory circuit, we used a monoclonal antibody to GABA to evaluate immunoreactivity at three levels of the circuit: the first order descending octaval nucleus (DON), the secondary octaval population (dorsal division), and the midbrain torus semicircularis. We observed a subset of immunoreactive (IR) cells and puncta distributed throughout the neuropil at all three locations. To assess whether contralateral inhibition is present, fluorescent dextran crystals were inserted into dorsal DON to fill contralateral, commissural inputs retrogradely prior to GABA immunohistochemistry. GABA-IR somata and puncta co-occurred with retrogradely filled, GABA-negative auditory projection cells. GABA-IR projection cells were more common in the dorsolateral DON than in the dorsomedial DON, but GABA-IR puncta were common in both dosolateral and dorsomedial divisions. Our findings demonstrate that GABA is present in the ascending auditory circuit in the brainstem of the toadfish, indicating that GABA-mediated inhibition participates in shaping auditory response characteristics in a teleost fish as in other vertebrates.
auditory processing; descending octaval nucleus; inhibition; directional hearing; secondary octaval nucleus
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.
GABAergic neurons in the neocortex are diverse with regard to morphology, physiology, and axonal targeting pattern, indicating functional specializations within the cortical microcircuitry. Little information is available, however, about functional properties of distinct subtypes of GABAergic neurons in the intact brain. Here, we combined in vivo two-photon calcium imaging in supragranular layers of the mouse neocortex with post hoc immunohistochemistry against the three calcium-binding proteins parvalbumin, calretinin, and calbindin in order to assign subtype marker profiles to neuronal activity. Following coronal sectioning of fixed brains, we matched cells in corresponding volumes of image stacks acquired in vivo and in fixed brain slices. In GAD67-GFP mice, more than 95% of the GABAergic cells could be unambiguously matched, even in large volumes comprising more than a thousand interneurons. Triple immunostaining revealed a depth-dependent distribution of interneuron subtypes with increasing abundance of PV-positive neurons with depth. Most importantly, the triple-labeling approach was compatible with previous in vivo calcium imaging following bulk loading of Oregon Green 488 BAPTA-1, which allowed us to classify spontaneous calcium transients recorded in vivo according to the neurochemically defined GABAergic subtypes. Moreover, we demonstrate that post hoc immunostaining can also be applied to wild-type mice expressing the genetically encoded calcium indicator Yellow Cameleon 3.60 in cortical neurons. Our approach is a general and flexible method to distinguish GABAergic subtypes in cell populations previously imaged in the living animal. It should thus facilitate dissecting the functional roles of these subtypes in neural circuitry.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00424-011-1048-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
GABAergic interneuron; Calcium imaging; In vivo; Two-photon microscopy; Immunohistochemistry; Histology
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
Dysregulation of intracellular calcium homeostasis has been linked to neuropathological symptoms observed in aging and age-related disease. Alterations in the distribution and relative frequency of calcium-binding proteins (CaBPs), which are important in regulating intracellular calcium levels, may contribute to disruption of calcium homeostasis. Here we examined the laminar distribution of three CaBPs in rat perirhinal cortex (PR) as a function of aging. Calbindin-D28k (CB), parvalbumin (PV), and calretinin (CR) were compared in adult (4 mo.), middle-aged (13 mo.) and aged (26 mo.) rats. Results show an aging-related and layer-specific decrease in the number of CB-immunoreactive (-ir) neurons, beginning in middle-aged animals. Dual labeling suggests that the age-related decrease in CB reflects a decrease in neurons that are not immunoreactive for the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. In contrast, no aging-related differences in PV- or CR-immunoreactivity were observed. These data suggest that selective alterations in CB-ir neurons may contribute to aging-related learning and memory deficits in tasks that depend upon PR circuitry.
calbindin; parvalbumin; calretinin; immunohistochemistry; laminar distribution; medial temporal lobe; middle-aged; aged
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
Numerous studies have shown that neuronal plasticity in the hippocampus and neocortex is regulated by estrogen and that aromatase, the key enzyme for estrogen biosynthesis, is present in cerebral cortex. Although the expression pattern of aromatase mRNA has been described in the monkey brain, its precise cellular distribution has not been determined. In addition, the degree to which neuronal aromatase is affected by gonadal estrogen has not been investigated. In this study, we examined the immunohistochemical distribution of aromatase in young ovariectomized female rhesus monkeys with or without long-term cyclic estradiol treatment. Both experimental groups showed that aromatase is localized in a large population of CA1-3 pyramidal cells, in granule cells of the dentate gyrus and in some interneurons in which it was co-expressed with the calcium binding proteins calbindin, calretinin, and parvalbumin. Moreover, numerous pyramidal cells were immunoreactive for aromatase in the neocortex, whereas only small subpopulations of neocortical interneurons were immunoreactive for aromatase. The widespread expression of the protein in a large neuronal population suggests that local intraneuroral estrogen synthesis may contribute to estrogen-induced synaptic plasticity in monkey hippocampus and neocortex of female rhesus monkeys. In addition, the apparent absence of obvious differences in aromatase distribution between the two experimental groups suggests that these localization patterns are not dependent on plasma estradiol levels.
aromatase; estrogen; hippocampus; interneuron; neocortex; pyramidal cells
In the auditory system, precise encoding of temporal information is critical for sound localization, a task with direct behavioral relevance. Interaural timing differences are computed using axonal delay lines and cellular coincidence detectors in nucleus laminaris (NL). We present morphological and physiological data on the timing circuits in the emu, Dromaius novaehollandiae, and compare these results with those from the barn owl (Tyto alba) and the domestic chick (Gallus gallus). Emu NL was composed of a compact monolayer of bitufted neurons whose two thick primary dendrites were oriented dorsoventrally. They showed a gradient in dendritic length along the presumed tonotopic axis. The NL and nucleus magnocellularis (NM) neurons were strongly immunoreactive for parvalbumin, a calcium-binding protein. Antibodies against synaptic vesicle protein 2 and glutamic acid decarboxlyase revealed that excitatory synapses terminated heavily on the dendritic tufts, while inhibitory terminals were distributed more uniformly. Physiological recordings from brainstem slices demonstrated contralateral delay lines from NM to NL. During whole-cell patch-clamp recordings, NM and NL neurons fired single spikes and were doubly-rectifying. NL and NM neurons had input resistances of 30.0 ± 19.9 MΩ and 49.0 ± 25.6 MΩ, respectively, and membrane time constants of 12.8 ± 3.8 ms and 3.9 ± 0.2 ms. These results provide further support for the Jeffress model for sound localization in birds. The emu timing circuits showed the ancestral (plesiomorphic) pattern in their anatomy and physiology, while differences in dendritic structure compared to chick and owl may indicate specialization for encoding ITDs at low best frequencies.
avian; nucleus laminaris; nucleus magnocellularis; dendrite; coincidence detection; sound localization
We investigated the distributions of AMPA glutamate receptor subtypes GluR1 and GluR4 in the hamster superior colliculus (SC) with antibody immunocytochemistry and the effect of enucleation on these distributions. We compared these labelings to those of GluR2/3 in our previous report (Park et al., 2004, Neurosci Res., 49:139–155) and calcium-binding proteins calbindin D28K, calretinin, parvalbumin, and GABA. Anti-GluR1-immunoreactive (IR) cells were scattered throughout the SC. By contrast, anti-GluR4-IR cells formed distinct clusters within the lower lateral stratum griseum intermediale (SGI) and lateral stratum album intermediale (SAI). The GluR1- and GluR4-IR neurons varied in size and morphology. The average diameter of the GluR1-IR cells was 13.00 µm, while the GluR4-IR cells was 20.00 µm. The large majority of IR neurons were round or oval cells, but they also included stellate, vertical fusiform and horizontal cells. Monocular enucleation appeared to have no effect on the GluR1 and GluR4 immunoreactivity. Some GluR1-IR cells expressed calbindin D28K (9.50%), calretinin (6.59%), parvalbumin (2.53%), and GABA (20.54%). By contrast, no GluR4-IR cells expressed calcium-binding proteins or GABA. Although the function of the AMPA receptor subunits in SC is not yet clear, the distinct segregation of the GluR subunits, its differential colocalization with calcium-binding proteins and GABA, and differential responses to enucleation suggest the functional diversity of the receptor subunits in visuo-motor integration in the SC.
AMPA glutamate receptors; calcium-binding proteins; GABA; immunocytochemistry; localization
Vestibular information is essential for the control of posture, balance, and eye movements. The vestibular nerve projects to the four nuclei of the vestibular nuclear complex (VNC), as well as to several additional brainstem nuclei and the cerebellum. We have found that expression of the calcium-binding proteins calretinin (CR) and calbindin (CB), and the synthetic enzyme for nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) define subdivisions of the medial vestibular nucleus (MVe) and the nucleus prepositus (PrH), in cat, monkey, and human. We have asked if the pattern of expression of nonphosphorylated neurofilament protein (NPNFP) might define additional subdivisions of these or other nuclei that participate in vestibular function. We studied the distribution of cells immunoreactive to NPNFP in the brainstems of 5 cats and one squirrel monkey. Labeled cells were scattered throughout the four nuclei of the VNC, as well as in PrH, the reticular formation (RF) and the external cuneate nucleus. We used double-label immunofluorescence to visualize the distribution of these cells relative to other neurochemically defined subdivisions. NPNFP cells were excluded from the CR and CB regions of the MVe. In PrH, NPNFP and nNOS were not colocalized. Cells in the lateral vestibular nucleus and RF colocalized NPNFP and a marker for glutamatergic neurons. We also found that the cholinergic cells and axons of cranial nerve nuclei 3, 4, 6, 7,10 and 12 colocalize NPNFP. The data suggest that NPNFP is expressed by a subset of glutamatergic projection neurons of the vestibular brainstem. NPNFP may be a marker for those cells that are especially vulnerable to the effects of normal aging, neurological disease or disruption of sensory input.
Intracellular free calcium ions (Ca2+) are an important element in retinal ganglion cell response. Two major EF-hand (E-helix-loop-F-helix-hand) calcium binding proteins in the retina, calretinin and calbindin-28 kDa, are important buffers of intracellular free Ca2+ in neurons, and may also serve as Ca2+-dependent regulators of enzymes and ion channels.
This study used immunohistochemistry to investigate the subcellular expression patterns of calretinin and calbindin-28 kDa, in the soma, dendrites, and the axonal compartment of rat retinal ganglion cells.
Antibodies for calretinin and calbindin-28 kDa labeled different cell populations in the retinal ganglion cell layer. In this layer, calretinin labeled a larger number of cells compared to calbindin-28 kDa, many, but not all, of which were displaced amacrine cells. The calbindin-28 kDa immunopositive neurons were distinct in that their somata were peripherally encircled by microtubule associated protein 1 (MAP-1) or neurofilament-200 kDa subunit (NF-200 kDa) immunofluorescence. Although somata of retinal ganglion cells contained these calcium binding proteins, neither protein was found in the dendrites or initial segments of the axons. However, both were expressed in the ganglion cell axons in nerve fiber layer. Calretinin and calbindin-28 kDa staining overlapped in some fibers and not in others. Calretinin immunofluorescence was concentrated in discrete axonal regions, which showed limited staining for calbindin-28 kDa or for NF200 kDa, suggesting its close proximity to the plasma membrane.
There is a clear compartmentalization of calbindin-28 kDa and calretinin distribution in retinal ganglion cells. This suggests that the two calcium binding proteins perform distinct functions in localized calcium signaling. It also indicates that rather than freely diffusing through the cytoplasm to attain a homogeneous distribution, calbindin-28 kDa and calretinin must be bound to cellular structures through interactions that are likely important for their functions.
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
Developmental studies identified four classes (V0, V1, V2, V3) of embryonic interneurons in the ventral spinal cord. Very little however is known about their adult phenotypes. In order to further characterize interneuron cell types in the adult, the location, neurotransmitter phenotype, calcium-buffering protein expression and axon distributions of V1-derived neurons in the mouse spinal cord was determined. In the mature (P20 and older) spinal cord, most V1-derived neurons are located in lateral LVII and in LIX, few in medial LVII and none in LVIII. Approximately 40% express calbindin and/or parvalbumin, while few express calretinin. Of seven groups of ventral interneurons identified according to calcium-buffering protein expression, two groups (1 and 4) correspond with V1-derived neurons. Group 1 are Renshaw cells and intensely express calbindin and coexpress parvalbumin and calretinin. They represent 9% of the V1 population. Group 4 express only parvalbumin and represent 27% of V1-derived neurons. V1-derived group 4 neurons receive contacts from primary sensory afferents and are therefore proprioceptive interneurons and the most ventral neurons in this group receive convergent calbindin-IR Renshaw cell inputs. This subgroup resembles Ia inhibitory interneurons (IaINs) and represents 13% of V1-derived neurons. Adult V1-interneuron axons target LIX and LVII and some enter the deep dorsal horn. V1-axons do not cross the midline. V1 derived axonal varicosities were mostly (>80%) glycinergic and a third were GABAergic. None were glutamatergic or cholinergic. In summary, V1 interneurons develop into ipsilaterally projecting, inhibitory interneurons that include Renshaw cells, Ia inhibitory interneurons and other unidentified proprioceptive interneurons.
inhibitory interneurons; engrailed-1; motor control; GABA; glycine; calbindin; parvalbumin; calretinin; motoneurons; ventral horn; spinal cord; development; V1
The inferior colliculus (IC) receives its major ascending input from the cochlear nuclei, the superior olivary complex and the nuclei of the lateral lemniscus. In order to better understand the terminal distribution of the inputs from these sources relative to one another, we made focal injections of a retrograde tracer, biotinylated dextran amine, in different parts of the IC in 74 gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus). Based on counts of labeled cells in brainstem auditory nuclei, the cases could be divided into three groups. Group 1 cases had labeled cells in both the cochlear nuclei and in the lateral and medial superior olivary nuclei. Group 2 cases had labeled cells in the cochlear nuclei but few or none in the lateral and medial superior olivary nuclei. Both groups had labeled cells in the nuclei of the lateral lemniscus and the superior paraolivary nucleus. Group 3 cases had few labeled cells in any of the ascending auditory pathways. The group to which a case belonged was strongly related to the location of the injection site in the IC. The injection sites for both Groups 1 and 2 were located in the central nucleus, but those for Group 1 tended to be located laterally relative to those for Group 2, which were located more medially and caudally. The injection sites for Group 3 cases lay outside the central nucleus of the IC. The two regions of the central nucleus of the IC, distinguished on the basis of connectivity, are likely to subserve different functions.
auditory system; biotinylated dextran amine; cytochrome oxidase; neuroanatomy; nuclei of the lateral lemniscus
Loss of neuronal calcium is associated with later apoptotic injury but observing reduced calcium and increased apoptosis in the same cell would provide more definitive proof of this apparent correlation. Thus, following exposure to vehicle or the calcium chelator BAPTA (1–20 μM), primary cortical neurons were labeled with Calcium Green-1 which was then cross-linked with EDAC, prior to immunostaining for various proteins. We found that BAPTA-induced changes in calcium were highly correlated with changes in expression of activated caspase-3 as well as the calcium binding proteins calbindin, calretinin, and parvalbumin. Additionally, in brain slices from P7 neonatal rats, BAPTA induced significant loss of calcium in a brain region we have previously shown to express only moderate levels of calcium binding proteins as well as display robust apoptosis following calcium entry blockade. In contrast, BAPTA had little influence on calcium levels in a brain region we have previously shown to express robust calcium binding proteins as well as display far less apoptosis following calcium entry blockade. These data suggest that the ability of developing neurons to buffer changes in calcium may be critical to their long-term survival.
caspase-3; rat; brain slice; development; BAPTA; calcium binding proteins
Inhibitory transmission is critical to sensory and motor processing and is believed to play a role in experience-dependent plasticity. The main inhibitory neurotransmitter in vertebrates, GABA, has been implicated in both sensory and motor aspects of vocalization in songbirds. To understand the role of GABAergic mechanisms in vocal communication, GABAergic elements must be characterized fully. Hence, we investigated GABA immunohistochemistry in the zebra finch brain, emphasizing auditory areas and song control nuclei. Several nuclei of the ascending auditory pathway showed a moderate to high density of GABAergic neurons including the cochlear nuclei, nucleus laminaris, superior olivary nucleus, mesencephalic nucleus lateralis pars dorsalis, and nucleus ovoidalis. Telencephalic auditory areas, including field L subfields L1, L2a and L3, as well as the caudomedial nidopallium (NCM) and mesopallium (CMM), contained GABAergic cells at particularly high densities. Considerable GABA labeling was also seen in the shelf area of caudodorsal nidopallium, and the cup area in the arcopallium, as well as in area X, the lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium, the robust nucleus of the arcopallium and nidopallial nucleus HVC. GABAergic cells were typically small, most likely local inhibitory interneurons, although large GABA-positive cells that were sparsely distributed were also identified. GABA-positive neurites and puncta were identified in most nuclei of the ascending auditory pathway and in song control nuclei. Our data are in accordance with a prominent role of GABAergic mechanisms in regulating the neural circuits involved in song perceptual processing, motor production, and vocal learning in songbirds.
GAD; Avian; NCM; Songbird; Plasticity; HVC