The most prevalent Ca2+-buffer proteins (CaBPs: parvalbumin-PV; calbindin-CaB; calretinin-CaR) are widely expressed by various neurons throughout the brain, including the retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Even though their retinal expression has been extensively studied, a coherent assessment of topographical variations is missing. To examine this, we performed immunohistochemistry (IHC) in mouse retinas. We found variability in the expression levels and cell numbers for CaR, with stronger and more numerous labels in the dorso-central area. CaBP+ cells contributed to RGCs with all soma sizes, indicating heterogeneity. We separated four to nine RGC clusters in each area based on expression levels and soma sizes. Besides the overall high variety in cluster number and size, the peripheral half of the temporal retina showed the greatest cluster number, indicating a better separation of RGC subtypes there. Multiple labels showed that 39% of the RGCs showed positivity for a single CaBP, 30% expressed two CaBPs, 25% showed no CaBP expression, and 6% expressed all three proteins. Finally, we observed an inverse relation between CaB and CaR expression levels in CaB/CaR dual- and CaB/CaR/PV triple-labeled RGCs, suggesting a mutual complementary function.
Keywords: calbindin; calcium buffer protein; calretinin; expression; ganglion cell; parvalbumin; retina; topography.