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Neuroscience. 1991;40(3):853-69.

Parvalbumin and calbindin-D28K immunoreactivity as developmental markers of auditory and vocal motor nuclei of the zebra finch.

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Institute of Zoology, Technical University Darmstadt, F.R.G.


The posthatch developmental profiles of parvalbumin and calbindin-D28K immunoreactivity were compared for the auditory nucleus mesencephalicus lateralis pars caudalis in the midbrain, n. ovoidalis in the thalamus, and telencephalic field L, as well as for the telencephalic vocal motor nuclei hyperstriatum ventrale pars caudalis and n. robustus archistriatalis. The two calcium-binding proteins showed specific temporal patterns of expression in each nucleus, without following an ascending or descending sequence. Calbindin-D28K immunoreactivity usually preceded parvalbumin immunoreactivity. Onset of expression, especially of parvalbumin-immunostaining, was earlier in auditory nuclei than in vocal motor nuclei. The developmental order of appearance of immunoreactivity in somata, dendrites and axons was different in various brain regions. In some structures parvalbumin or calbindin-D28K immunoreactivity occurred only transiently. The two antibodies bound to separate but spatially complementary groups of cells in the nucleus mesencephalicus lateralis pars dorsalis and n. ovoidalis, as has previously been described in visual nuclei. This pattern was maintained into adulthood. These hitherto unknown subcompartments may reflect internal functional organization in these nuclei. A transitory neostriatal zone containing parvalbumin-positive neurons and fibres was observed between the immature field L and the emerging hyperstriatum ventrale pars caudalis. Some comparative aspects are discussed as to the way in which neurons distinguished by the two Ca-binding proteins may differ in energy metabolism, activity pattern and other functional mechanisms.

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