Calcium-binding proteins in the cerebellar cortex of the bottlenose dolphin and harbour porpoise

J Chem Neuroanat. 2008 Jul;35(4):364-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jchemneu.2008.03.003. Epub 2008 Mar 18.


Studying the distribution of Ca2+-binding proteins allows one to discover specific neuron chemotypes involved in the regulation of the activity of various neural elements. While extensive data exist on Ca2+-binding proteins in the nervous system, in particular, in the cerebellar cortex of terrestrial mammals, the localization of these proteins in the cerebellar cortex of marine mammals has not been studied. We studied the localization of calretinin, calbindin, and parvalbumin immunoreactivity in the cerebellar cortex of the bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncates and harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena. In both species, most Purkinje cells were calbindin-immunoreactive, while calretinin and parvalbumin were expressed in a small portion of Purkinje cells. In addition, calretinin-immunoreactive unipolar brush and granule cells and calbindin- and parvalbumin-immunoreactive basket, stellate, and Golgi cells were observed. Calretinin-immunoreactive corticopetal (mossy and climbing) fibers were found. Based on the length of the primary dendrite, short-, middle-, and long-dendrite unipolar brush cells could be distinguished. The validity of this classification was supported using cluster analysis suggesting the presence of several natural types of these cells. The distribution of Ca2+-binding proteins in the cerebellar cortex of the cetaceans studied was generally similar to that reported for terrestrial mammals, suggesting that this trait is evolutionarily conservative in mammals.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bottle-Nosed Dolphin / anatomy & histology
  • Bottle-Nosed Dolphin / metabolism*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Calbindin 2
  • Calbindins
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Shape
  • Cerebellar Cortex / cytology
  • Cerebellar Cortex / metabolism*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Dendrites / metabolism
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Image Cytometry
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Interneurons / cytology
  • Interneurons / metabolism
  • Male
  • Nerve Fibers / metabolism
  • Nerve Fibers / ultrastructure
  • Parvalbumins / metabolism
  • Phocoena / anatomy & histology
  • Phocoena / metabolism*
  • Purkinje Cells / cytology
  • Purkinje Cells / metabolism
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G / metabolism
  • Species Specificity


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