Pattern of calretinin immunoreactivity in the main olfactory system and the vomeronasal system of the tree shrew, Tupaia belangeri

J Comp Neurol. 2000 May 15;420(4):428-36. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1096-9861(20000515)420:4<428::aid-cne2>;2-2.


The distribution of the calcium-binding protein calretinin was studied in peripheral and central parts of the main olfactory system (MOS) and the vomeronasal system (VNS) of adult tree shrew Tupaia belangeri. The calretinin immunoreaction was carried out with a peroxidase-coupled polyclonal antibody. In the VNS, complete labeling of all receptor cells and vomeronasal nerve fibers was observed, whereas only a subset of the somata and dendrites of receptor cells and of the olfactory nerve fibers of the MOS was immunoreactive. From the immunoreactive dendritic clubs of vomeronasal receptor cells, calretinin-labeled structures, presumably clumps of microvilli, arose that terminated within immunopositive portions of the mucus. In the main olfactory bulb, the neuropil of some of the glomeruli was immunoreactive. All periglomerular and many mitral cells were labeled. The external plexiform layer was subdivided into a faintly immunoreactive superficial half and a strongly immunoreactive deep half. Immunoreactive basal dendrites of mitral cells could be followed into either the deep half or the superficial half. In the laminated internal granular layer, a subset of immunopositive granule cells extended dendrites into the external plexiform layer. Mitral cells and granule cells with dendrites ascending to different levels of the external plexiform layer may represent functional subclasses. In the accessory olfactory bulb, all vomeronasal nerve fibers, glomeruli, and mitral/tufted cells were labeled, whereas immunoreactive periglomerular cells and internal granule cells were only scattered. In Tupaia, calretinin immunoreactivity is a more general property of the primary projecting neurons of the VNS than of the MOS and possibly indicates the involvement of calretinin in the perception of certain of the olfactory qualities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calbindin 2
  • Female
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / analysis
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Olfactory Bulb / cytology
  • Olfactory Mucosa / cytology
  • Olfactory Nerve / cytology
  • Olfactory Pathways / cytology*
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / cytology
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G / analysis*
  • Tupaiidae / anatomy & histology*
  • Vomeronasal Organ / cytology*


  • Calbindin 2
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G