• striate cortex;
  • parvalbumin;
  • calbindin;
  • cytochrome oxidase;
  • lateral geniculate nucleus


Bush babies possess three distinct parallel pathways to striate cortex (V1 or area 17). The calcium-binding proteins parvalbumin (PV) and calbindin (CB) typically show complementary regional distributions in the brain, often associated with specific aspects of functionally related groups of cells. We asked whether PV+ and CB+ immunoreactivity differentiate central visual parallel pathways in this species.

Results show that PV and CB cell and neuropil staining is strongly complementary in the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) and is associated with separate parallel pathways. CB+ immunoreactivity is dense, but cytochrome oxidase (CO) staining is light in the paired koniocellular layers. PV+ and CO+ immunoreactivity is most dense in the parvocellular and magnocellular layers. Combined analyses of cell size, retrograde labeling, and double labeling have confirmed that all PV+ and CB+ LGN cells are geniculocortical relay cells; none was found to be σ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic. In V1, dense PV+ neuropil closely matches the expression of CO in layer 4 and in the blobs of layer 3. CB+ staining is most dense in layers 2 and 3A and is not strongly expressed within the CO interblobs. Finally, PV and CB are not found in related parallel pathway components in the LGN and V1 (e. g., in V1, CO blobs exhibit dense PV+ neuropil, yet they are targets of the small K geniculocortical relay cells that are CB+ in the LGN). Our findings support the view that three functionally distinct visual pathways project to V1 from the LGN. However, the differences in the patterns of localization of PV and CB in the LGN and in V1 suggest that these proteins may be utilized in different ways in these two visual areas. © 1995 Wiley-Liss, Inc.