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J Comp Neurol. 2002 Jan 28;443(1):86-103.

Neurochemical organization of the human basal ganglia: anatomofunctional territories defined by the distributions of calcium-binding proteins and SMI-32.

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Laboratory for Functional Neurosurgery, Neurosurgery Clinic, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.


The distribution of the calcium-binding proteins calbindin-D28K (CB), parvalbumin (PV) and calretinin (CR), and of the nonphosphorylated neurofilament protein (with SMI-32) was investigated in the human basal ganglia to identify anatomofunctional territories. In the striatum, gradients of neuropil immunostaining define four major territories: The first (T1) includes all but the rostroventral half of the putamen and is characterized by enhanced matriceal PV and SMI-32 immunoreactivity (-ir). The second territory (T2) encompasses most part of the caudate nucleus (Cd) and rostral putamen (PuT), which show enhanced matriceal CB-ir. The third and fourth territories (T3 and T4) comprise rostroventral parts of Cd and PuT characterized by complementary patch/matrix distributions of CB- and CR-ir, and the accumbens nucleus (Acb), respectively. The latter is separated into lateral (prominently enhanced in CB-ir) and medial (prominently enhanced in CR-ir) subdivisions. In the pallidum, parallel gradients also delimit four territories, T1 in the caudal half of external (GPe) and internal (GPi) divisions, characterized by enhanced PV- and SMI-32-ir; T2 in their rostral half, characterized by enhanced CB-ir; and T3 and T4 in their rostroventral pole and in the subpallidal area, respectively, both expressing CB- and CR-ir but with different intensities. The subthalamic nucleus (STh) shows contrasting patterns of dense PV-ir (sparing only the most medial part) and low CB-ir. Expression of CR-ir is relatively low, except in the medial, low PV-ir, part of the nucleus, whereas SMI-32-ir is moderate across the whole nucleus. The substantia nigra is characterized by complementary patterns of high neuropil CB- and SMI-32-ir in pars reticulata (SNr) and high CR-ir in pars compacta (SNc) and in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). The compartmentalization of calcium-binding proteins and SMI-32 in the human basal ganglia, in particular in the striatum and pallidum, delimits anatomofunctional territories that are of significance for functional imaging studies and target selection in stereotactic neurosurgery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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