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J Chem Neuroanat. 1995 Aug;9(2):135-47.

Distribution of parvalbumin-containing interneurons in the hippocampus of the gerbil--a qualitative and quantitative statistical analysis.

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  • 1Section of Neuroanatomy, University of Basel, Switzerland.


In the gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus) hippocampal formation, the calcium-binding protein parvalbumin (PV) shows a unique species-specific distribution: it is present in the perforant path from the entorhinal cortex to the stratum molecular of the dentate are and cornu ammonis. A possible relation of this to the seizure-sensitivity of gerbils has been suggested. In addition, as in other species, PV is contained in a subpopulation of GABAergic nerve cells of the gerbil hippocampus. The characteristics of these PV-containing neurons are here described. Distribution and shape of the PV-positive neurons in general agreed with the features described for rat hippocampus with two notable exceptions: in CA2 PV-containing perikarya were densely crowded and gave rise to an intense immunoreactive plexus around the pyramidal cells and, in CA1, the number of stained neurons was variable, often much lower than in rats and occasionally not a single PV-positive neuron was present. In parasagittal brain sections of the lateralities 1.0, 1.6 and 2.2 mm from the midline, obtained from 27 male gerbils, the number of PV-containing neurons was determined. The data set obtained in CA3 and dentate area resembled unimodal distributions, while in CA1 a bimodal frequency distribution was present. Since parametric and non-parametric correlation tests rely on a unimodal distribution of the data set, they gave falsely significant values in CA1. The bimodal distribution suggests that, with respect to the PV-containing interneurons in CA1, two different populations of gerbils were included in our sample, those with many positive neurons and those with only a few. Since the nerve terminal staining is preserved also in those gerbils with only a few positive perikarya in CA1, it seems possible that an unknown factor influenced PV expression and storage in the soma. Sex, age, seasonal or circadian rhythm or quality of immunocytochemical staining did not influence the outcome of the quantitative analysis. However, a relation of the expression of the high affinity calcium buffering PV in interneurons and the individual seizure sensitivity of the gerbil is considered.

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