Three-dimensional cartography of functional territories in the human striatopallidal complex by using calbindin immunoreactivity

J Comp Neurol. 2002 Aug 19;450(2):122-34. doi: 10.1002/cne.10312.


This anatomic study presents an analysis of the distribution of calbindin immunohistochemistry in the human striatopallidal complex. Entire brains were sectioned perpendicularly to the mid-commissural line into 70-microm-thick sections. Every tenth section was immunostained for calbindin. Calbindin labeling exhibited a gradient on the basis of which three different regions were defined: poorly labeled, strongly labeled, and intermediate. Corresponding contours were traced in individual sections and reformatted as three-dimensional structures. The poorly labeled region corresponded to the dorsal part of the striatum and to the central part of the pallidum. The strongly labeled region included the ventral part of the striatum, the subcommissural part of the external pallidum but also the adjacent portion of its suscommissural part, and the anterior pole of the internal pallidum. The intermediate region was located between the poorly and strongly labeled regions. As axonal tracing and immunohistochemical studies in monkeys show a similar pattern, poorly, intermediate, and strongly labeled regions were considered as the sensorimotor, associative, and limbic territories of the human striatopallidal complex, respectively. However, the boundaries between these territories were not sharp but formed gradients of labeling, which suggests overlapping between adjacent territories. Similarly, the ventral boundary of the striatopallidal complex was blurred, suggesting a structural intermingling with the substantia innominata. This three-dimensional partitioning of the human striatopallidal complex could help to define functional targets for high-frequency stimulation with greater accuracy and help to identify new stimulation sites.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Calbindins
  • Caudate Nucleus / chemistry
  • Corpus Striatum / chemistry*
  • Globus Pallidus / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / analysis
  • Putamen / chemistry
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G / analysis*


  • Calbindins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G