High-Resolution Light and Electron Microscopic Immunocytochemistry of Colocalized GABA and Calbindin D-28k in Somata and Double Bouquet Cell Axons of Monkey Somatosensory Cortex

Eur J Neurosci. 1992 Oct;4(1):46-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.1992.tb00108.x.


A simple method for high-resolution immunocytochemical colocalization of different antigens in semithin sections 1 - 3 microm thick was used to study the colocalization of the calcium binding protein calbindin D-28k (calbindin) with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in double bouquet cells of monkey (Macaca fuscata) somatosensory cortex. Double bouquet cells were first visualized in vibratome sections by pre-embedding immunocytochemical staining for calbindin. Sections containing calbindin-immunoreactive somata and double bouquet cell axons were then osmicated, embedded in Araldite, resectioned at 1 - 3 microm and stained for GABA by postembedding immunocytochemistry after elution of the bound anti-calbindin antibodies. Other semithin sections adjacent to those eluted and still containing calbindin immunoreactive somata and processes were resectioned at 60 - 70 nm for electron microscopy and stained immunocytochemically for GABA by the postembedding immunogold procedure. Calbindin-positive cells are most numerous in layer II and upper layer III, where they outnumber those in all other layers combined. In layers II and upper III, approximately 30% of the stained cells are pyramidal and do not colocalize GABA. Only approximately two-thirds of the calbindin-stained nonpyramidal cells in these layers colocalize GABA, but among these virtually all the calbindin-positive double bouquet cells and their axons are GABA-immunoreactive. In deeper layers all calbindin-positive cells are nonpyramidal and all colocalize GABA. At the electron microscopic level, however, significant numbers of calbindin-positive axon terminals making symmetrical synapses are not GABA-immunoreactive. These results suggest the calbindin cells of monkey somatosensory cortex are a heterogeneous population that includes GABAergic and non-GABAergic cell types.