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Distribution of parvalbumin-immunoreactivity in the rat thalamus using a monoclonal antibody.

R. Covenas, M. De Leon, J. R. Alonso, R. Arevalo, J. Lara, R. Aijon


1. The distribution of parvalbumin cell bodies and fibers in the thalamus of the rat was studied using a monoclonal antibody and the avidin-biotin-peroxidase method. The densest clusters of immunoreactive perikarya were observed in the nuclei ventralis posterior, reticularis, ventralis anterior and zona incerta, whereas the nuclei habenularis lateralis, lateralis posterior, lateralis, centralis lateralis and ventralis lateralis had the lowest density. In the nucleus geniculatum laterale ventralis, the density of parvalbumin cell bodies was intermediate. In all these thalamic nuclei, small, round or fusiform immunoreactive cells with short immunolabeled dendritic processes were observed. 2. The densest network of immunoreactive fibers was observed in the nuclei geniculatum laterale ventralis, reticularis and zona incerta. The nuclei geniculatum laterale dorsalis, ventralis posterior, medialis ventralis, ventralis anterior, anterior ventralis, anterior dorsalis and rhomboidens contained a moderate number of parvalbumin fibers, whereas the nuclei lateralis posterior, habenularis lateralis, parataenialis, centrum medianum, lateralis, centralis lateralis, ventralis lateralis, medialis dorsalis, anterior medialis, ventralis medialis and lateralis anterior had the lowest density of immunoreactive fibers. In addition, a large number of immunoreactive fibers was found in the lemniscus medialis and a scarce number in the stria medullaris. 3. No immunoreactive structure was observed in the nuclei habenularis medialis, paraventricularis, reuniens and geniculatum mediale. 4. Thus, perikarya and fibers containing parvalbumin are widely distributed throughout the thalamus of the rat, suggesting that parvalbumin might play a role, directly or indirectly, in limbic, visual and somatosensory mechanisms.

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