In the subcortical auditory system of Rhinolophus rouxi, antibodies directed against the calcium-binding proteins parvalbumin, calbindin D-28k, and calretinin yield partly overlapping and partly complementary labeling patterns which are described in detail for each nucleus.
The most general features of the labeling patterns are that: (1) Parvalbumin is a potent marker for large and heterogenous populations of cells and puncta (presumed axon terminals) throughout the auditory pathway. (2) Immunostaining with the monoclonal calbindin-antiserum was typically absent or sparse in most auditory brainstem centers, but prominent in auditory nerve fibers and in cells of the medial geniculate body (MGB). (3) Calretinin label is abundant but more restricted to subsets of auditory nuclei or subpopulations of cells than parvalbumin. (4) Calcium-binding proteins are useful markers to define particular subregions or cell types in auditory nuclei: for example, (i) different labeling patterns are obtained within the nuclei of the lateral lemniscus and adjacent tegmental zones; (ii) in the inferior colliculus both calbindin- and calretinin-antisera yield similar regional specific staining patterns, but label different cell types; (iii) subregions of the medial geniculate body have characteristic profiles of calcium-binding proteins; and (iv) analyses of different nuclei showed that there is no simple common denominator for cells characterized by the expression of particular calcium-binding proteins, nor does labeling correspond in a straightforward way with specific functional systems. (5) there are profound differences between the calbindin labeling patterns seen in Rhinolophus and those in other mammals.