The calcium binding protein calbindin-D 28K reveals subpopulations of projection and interneurons in the cat superior colliculus



The calcium binding protein calbindin-D 28K (CaBP) has been localized in the cat superior colliculus (SC). Four important features of SC organization have been revealed by using CaBP immunocytochemistry. 1) CaBP neurons formed three laminar tiers in SC, one within the upper one half of the superficial gray layer (SGL), the second bridging the deep optic (OL) and intermediate gray layers (IGL), and the third within the deep gray layer (DGL). 2) CaBP labeled several classes of interneuron in SC. In the upper CaBP tier, the labeled neurons were all small, but they varied in morphology and included horizontal, pyriform, and stellate neurons. A unique class of interneuron was labeled by anti-CaBP in the OL-IGL tier. This cell was stellate-like with highly varicose dendrites and broad dendritic trees. Other labeled neurons in the intermediate and deep tiers included nonvaricose stellate neurons and rare large neurons in the DGL. 3) A few anti-CaBP neurons were projection neurons. Virtually no CaBP neurons were retrogradely labeled after injections of HRP into the predorsal bundle and dorsolateral midbrain tegmentum or into the lateral posterior nucleus. However, 2.4% of anti-CaBP neurons were retrogradely labeled after HRP injections into the dorsal and ventral lateral geniculate nuclei. These represented 14.7% of all neurons projecting to the LGN complex. 4) A small percentage of CaBP neurons co-localized GABA. A two-chromagen double-labeling technique showed that about 4.0% of labeled neurons were labeled by both antibodies. In summary, antibodies to CaBP densely labeled subpopulations of neurons in the cat SC, most of which were interneurons, some of which projected to the LGN, and a few of which co-localized GABA.