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Quantitative distribution of parvalbumin, calretinin, and calbindin D-28k immunoreactive neurons in the visual cortex of normal and Alzheimer cases.

Experimental Neurology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1006/exnr.1998.6838
  • Aged
  • Aged
  • 80 And Over
  • Alzheimer Disease
  • Calcium-Binding Protein
  • Vitamin D-Dependent
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing
  • Computer-Assisted
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neurons
  • Neuropil
  • Parvalbumins
  • Reference Values
  • Visual Cortex
  • Biology
  • Medicine


The distribution of parvalbumin (PV), calretinin (CR), and calbindin (CB) immunoreactive neurons was studied with the help of an image analysis system (Vidas/Zeiss) in the primary visual area 17 and associative area 18 (Brodmann) of Alzheimer and control brains. In neither of these areas was there a significant difference between Alzheimer and control groups in the mean number of PV, CR, or CB immunoreactive neuronal profiles, counted in a cortical column going from pia to white matter. Significant differences in the mean densities (numbers per square millimeter of cortex) of PV, CR, and CB immunoreactive neuronal profiles were not observed either between groups or areas, but only between superficial, middle, and deep layers within areas 17 and 18. The optical density of the immunoreactive neuropil was also similar in Alzheimer and controls, correlating with the numerical density of immunoreactive profiles in superficial, middle, and deep layers. The frequency distribution of neuronal areas indicated significant differences between PV, CR, and CB immunoreactive neuronal profiles in both areas 17 and 18, with more large PV than CR and CB positive profiles. There were also significantly more small and less large PV and CR immunoreactive neuronal profiles in Alzheimer than in controls. Our data show that, although the brain pathology is moderate to severe, there is no prominent decrease of PV, CR and CB positive neurons in the visual cortex of Alzheimer brains, but only selective changes in neuronal perikarya.

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