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J Comp Neurol. 1995 Nov 13;362(2):171-94.

Auditory thalamocortical pathways defined in monkeys by calcium-binding protein immunoreactivity.

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Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, RIKEN, Saitama, Japan.


This study investigated differentiation of Macaca fuscata auditory thalamus into chemically defined nuclei forming relays to auditory cortical areas. The thalamus was stained immunocytochemically for parvalbumin and 28 kDa calbindin in normals and in brains in which retrogradely transported tracers were injected into middle layers of auditory cortical areas or applied to the cortical surface. Parvalbumin- and calbindin-immunoreactive cells show a complementary distribution in ventral, anterodorsal, posterodorsal, and magnocellular medial geniculate nuclei. The ventral nucleus has a high density of parvalbumin cells and few calbindin cells, and the anterodorsal nucleus has a high density of parvalbumin cells and moderate numbers of calbindin cells. Both nuclei have a dense parvalbumin-immunoreactive neuropil formed by terminations of fibers ascending in the brachium of the inferior colliculus. The posterodorsal nucleus has approximately equal proportions of parvalbumin and calbindin cells; neuropil staining is weak but contains terminations of calbindin-immunoreactive fibers ascending in the midbrain tegmentum. The magnocellular nucleus contains domains of parvalbumin and calbindin cells. Parvalbumin cells in the ventral nucleus project to a central core of auditory cortex with densest parvalbumin immunoreactivity. Those in anterodorsal and posterodorsal nuclei project to surrounding auditory fields with less dense parvalbumin immunoreactivity; those in the magnocellular nucleus project widely to auditory and other fields. Injections of middle cortical layers label a large majority of parvalbumin cells in the ventral, anterodorsal, or posterodorsal nuclei and in the magnocellular nucleus. Superficial deposits label calbindin cells only, usually in more than one nucleus, implying a widespread projection system.

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