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Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 2002 Jun 30;136(2):185-95.

Expression of the L-type calcium channel in the developing mouse visual system by use of immunocytochemistry.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, 1901 Perdido Street, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.


Developmental refinement of the retinogeniculate and retinocollicular pathways is partially dependent upon Ca(2+) channel function [J. Comp. Neurol. 440 (2001) 177-191]. We have examined the development of the L-type voltage gated Ca(2+) channel to determine if the onset of expression matches this period of refinement. Labeling by an antibody directed against the alpha 1C subunit of this channel was examined in the superior colliculus (SC), lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), visual cortex (CTX), hippocampus (HC) and cerebellum (CB) in mice aged P3-4, P8-9, P15, P21, P28, and adults. At P3-4, labeled cells within the SC were concentrated within a dense band in the retinorecipient zone of the superficial gray layer. More lightly labeled neurons were seen in other layers. This dense band was still seen at P15, while more labeled neurons were seen in other layers. By P21-P28, labeled neurons were fairly uniformly distributed throughout all layers of SC. Neuronal cell types appeared to be labeled at all ages examined within the LGN. Within CTX, putative layer V-VI pyramidal neurons were well labeled at P4 and later ages, and labeled layer II-III pyramids could be distinguished by P9 and later ages. The dendrites and cell bodies of pyramidal neurons within CA1-CA3 of HC, granule neurons in the dentate gyrus, and Purkinje neurons in CB were labeled at all ages examined. We conclude that the L-type Ca(2+) channel is expressed in many neurons within retinorecipient targets as well as in other brain regions during the developmental period in which pathway refinement and synaptic plasticity occurs.

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