The calcium binding proteins calbindin, parvalbumin, and calretinin have specific patterns of expression in the gray matter of cat spinal cord

J Neurocytol. 2005 Dec;34(6):369-85. doi: 10.1007/s11068-006-8724-2. Epub 2006 Aug 10.


Calcium binding proteins (CBPs) regulate intracellular levels of calcium (Ca(2+)) ions. CBPs are particularly interesting from a morphological standpoint, because they are differentially expressed in certain sub-populations of cells in the nervous system of various species of vertebrate animals. However, knowledge on the cellular regulation governing such cell-specific CBP expression is still incomplete. In this work on the L7 segment of the cat spinal cord, we analyzed the localization and morphology of neurons expressing the CBPs calbindin-28 KD (CB), parvalbumin (PV), and calretinin (CR), and co-expressing CB and PV, CB and CR, and PV and CR. Single CBP-positive ((+)) neurons showed specific distributions: (1) CB was present in small neurons localized in laminae I, II, III and X, in small to medium size neurons in laminae III-VI, and in medium to large neurons in laminae VI-VIII; (2) PV was present in small size neurons in laminae III and IV and in medial portions of laminae V and VI, medium neurons and in lamina X at the border with lamina VII, in medium to large neurons in laminae VII and VIII; (3) CR labeling was detected in small size neurons in laminae I, II, III and VIII, in medium to large size neurons in laminae I and III-VII, and in small to medium size neurons in lamina X. Double labeled neurons were a small minority of the CBP(+) cells. Co-expression of CB and PV was seen in 1 to 2% of the CBP(+) cells, and they were detected in the ventral and intermediate portions of lamina VII and in lamina X. Co-localization of CB and CR was present in 0.3% of the cells and these cells were localized in lamina II. Double labeling for PV and CR occurred in 6% of the cells, and the cells were localized in ventral part of lamina VII and in lamina VIII. Overall, these results revealed distinct and reproducible patterns of localization of the neurons expressing single CBPs and co-expressing two of them. Distinct differences of CBP expression between cat and other species are discussed. Possible relations between the cat L7 neurons expressing different CBPs with the neurons previously analyzed in cat and other animals are suggested.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calbindin 2
  • Calbindins
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology
  • Cats
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Shape / physiology
  • Dendrites / metabolism
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Image Cytometry
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Interneurons / cytology
  • Interneurons / metabolism*
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Neural Pathways / cytology
  • Neural Pathways / metabolism
  • Parvalbumins / metabolism*
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G / metabolism*
  • Spinal Cord / cytology
  • Spinal Cord / metabolism*


  • Calbindin 2
  • Calbindins
  • Parvalbumins
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G
  • Calcium