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Neuroscience. 2001;102(2):413-25.

Parvalbumin-containing neurons in the rat basolateral amygdala: morphology and co-localization of Calbindin-D(28k).

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Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia SC 29208, USA.


Parvalbumin is a calcium-binding protein that is contained in certain neuronal populations in the brain. Although the exact function of parvalbumin is not clear, it has been found to be a useful marker for studying the connections of specific cell types in immunohistochemical studies. In the present investigation immunohistochemical techniques were used to study the morphology of parvalbumin-containing neurons in the rat basolateral amygdala. These neurons were found to be a morphologically heterogeneous subpopulation of non-pyramidal interneurons. Parvalbumin-positive axons in the basolateral amygdala were observed to form "pericellular baskets" that enveloped the perikarya of pyramidal neurons. In addition, some parvalbumin-immunoreactive axons formed "cartridges" that appeared to surround non-immunoreactive processes. The morphology of parvalbumin-positive neurons closely resembled that of neurons containing calbindin, a related calcium-binding protein. Analysis of adjacent sections stained for each protein using the mirror technique revealed that approximately 80% of parvalbumin neurons also contained calbindin, and that approximately 60% of calbindin neurons also contained parvalbumin. This study demonstrates that parvalbumin-containing neurons constitute an important subpopulation of non-pyramidal interneurons in the rat basolateral amygdala. The axonal configurations of these cells indicate that they may exert a potent inhibitory influence over pyramidal projection neurons. We suggest that parvalbumin-containing neurons can control emotional responses mediated by the basolateral amygdala by controlling the output from this important brain region.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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