Calcium-binding proteins, parvalbumin- and calbindin-D 28k-immunoreactive neurons in the rat spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia: a light and electron microscopic study

J Comp Neurol. 1990 May 15;295(3):467-84. doi: 10.1002/cne.902950310.


The distribution of two calcium-binding proteins, parvalbumin (PV) and calbindin-D 28K (CaBP), was studied by the peroxidase-anti-peroxidase immunohistochemical method at the light and electron microscopic level in the rat spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia. The possible coexistence of these two proteins was also investigated. PV-positive neurons were revealed in all layers of the spinal cord, except lamina I, which was devoid of labelling. Most of the PV-positive cells were found in the inner layer of lamina II, lamina III, internal basilar nucleus, central gray region, and at the dorsomedial and ventromedial aspects of the lateral motor column in the ventral horn. Neuronal processes intensely stained for PV sharply delineated inner lamina II. With the electron microscope most of them appeared to be dendrites, but vesicle containing profiles were also found in a smaller number. CaBP-positive neurons appeared to be dispersed all over the spinal gray matter. The great majority of them were found in laminae I, II, IV; the central gray region; the intermediolateral nucleus; and in the ventral horn just medial to the lateral motor column. Laminae I and II were densely packed with CaBP-positive punctate profiles that proved to be dendrites and axons in the electron microscope. A portion of labelled neurons in lamina IV and on the ventromedial aspect of the lateral motor column in the ventral horn disclosed both PV- and CaBP-immunoreactivity. All of the funiculi of the spinal white matter contained a large number of fibres immunopositive for both PV and CaBP. The highest density of CaBP-positive fibres was found in the dorsolateral funiculus, which was also densely packed with PV-positive fibres. PV-positive fibres were even more numerous in the dorsal part of the dorsal funiculus. The territory of the gracile funiculus in the brachial cord and that of the pyramidal tract in its whole extent were devoid of labelled fibres. In the thoracic cord, the dorsal nucleus of Clarke received a large number of PV-positive fibres. Dorsal root ganglia displayed both PV- and CaBP-immunopositivity. The cell diameter distribution histogram of PV-positive neurons disclosed two peaks--one at 35 microns and the other at 50 microns. CaBP-positive cells in the dorsal root ganglia corresponded to subgroups of small and large neurons with mean diameters of 25 microns and 45 microns, respectively.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calbindins
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Ganglia, Spinal / metabolism*
  • Ganglia, Spinal / ultrastructure
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Molecular Weight
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Parvalbumins / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G / metabolism*
  • Spinal Cord / metabolism*
  • Spinal Cord / ultrastructure


  • Calbindins
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Parvalbumins
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G