Neurons projecting to the parietal cortex or striatum and neurons showing immunoreactivity for the calcium-binding proteins parvalbumin and 28KD-calbindin were examined in the anterior intralaminar nuclei (IL) of the cat. Retrograde tracing from deep or superficial parietal cortical layers or from the caudate nucleus was coupled with immunohistochemistry to determine which of these proteins were expressed in the projection neurons. It was found that IL neurons project to deep as well as to superficial layers of the parietal cortex, that IL-cortical neurons could be differentiated into two populations according to their cortical projection pattern and their soma size, and that IL neurons projecting to the parietal cortex or to the striatum express 28KD calbindin immunoreactivity but not parvalbumin immunoreactivity. The distribution of immunoreactivity to 28KD calbindin and parvalbumin in the neuropil showed a consistent complementary distribution pattern in the IL. The compartments based on differential parvalbumin and 28KD calbindin expression may indicate the presence of functionally segregated units in IL.