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J Comp Neurol. 1994 Mar 1;341(1):95-116.

Local circuit neurons immunoreactive for calretinin, calbindin D-28k or parvalbumin in monkey prefrontal cortex: distribution and morphology.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15213.


In the cerebral cortex, local circuit neurons provide critical inhibitory control over the activity of pyramidal neurons, the major class of excitatory efferent cortical cells. The calcium-binding proteins, calretinin, calbindin, and parvalbumin, are expressed in a variety of cortical local circuit neurons. However, in the primate prefrontal cortex, relatively little is known, especially with regard to calretinin, about the specific classes or distribution of local circuit neurons that contain these calcium-binding proteins. In this study, we used immunohistochemical techniques to characterize and compare the morphological features and distribution in macaque monkey prefrontal cortex of local circuit neurons that contain each of these calcium-binding proteins. On the basis of the axonal features of the labeled neurons, and correlations with previous Golgi studies, calretinin appeared to be present in double-bouquet neurons, calbindin in neurogliaform neurons and Martinotti cells, and parvalbumin in chandelier and wide arbor (basket) neurons. Calretinin was also found in other cell populations, such as a distinctive group of large neurons in the infragranular layers, but it was not possible to assign these neurons to a known cell class. In addition, although the animals studied were adults, immunoreactivity for both calretinin and calbindin was found in Cajal-Retzius neurons of layer I. Dual labeling studies confirmed that with the exception of the Cajal-Retzius neurons, each calcium-binding protein was expressed in separate populations of prefrontal cortical neurons. Comparisons of the laminar distributions of the labeled neurons also indicated that these calcium-binding proteins were segregated into discrete neuronal populations. Calretinin-positive neurons were present in greatest density in deep layer I and layer II, calbindin-immunoreactive cells were most dense in layers II-superficial III, and parvalbumin-containing neurons were present in greatest density in the middle cortical layers. In addition, the relative density of calretinin-labeled neurons was approximately twice that of the calbindin- and parvalbumin-positive neurons. However, within each group of labeled neurons, their laminar distribution and relative density did not differ substantially across regions of the prefrontal cortex. These findings demonstrate that calretinin, calbindin, and parvalbumin are markers of separate populations of local circuit neurons in monkey prefrontal cortex, and that they may be useful tools in unraveling the intrinsic inhibitory circuitry of the primate prefrontal cortex in but normal and disease states.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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