Parvalbumin and calbindin expression in parallel thalamocortical pathways in a gleaning bat,Antrozous pallidus

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The pallid bat (Antrozous pallidus) listens to prey-generated noise to localize and hunt terrestrial prey while reserving echolocation to avoid obstacles. The thalamocortical connections in the pallid bat are organized as parallel pathways that may serve echolocation and prey localization behaviors. Thalamic inputs to the cortical echolocation call- and noise-selective regions originate primarily in the suprageniculate nucleus (SG) and ventral division of medial geniculate body (MGBv), respectively. Here we examined the distribution of parvalbumin (PV) and calbindin (CB) expression in cortical regions and thalamic nuclei of these pathways. Electrophysiology was used to identify cortical regions selective for echolocation calls and noise. Immunohistochemistry was used to stain for PV and CB in the auditory cortex and MGB. A higher percentage (relative to Nissl-stained cells) of PV+ cells compared with CB+ cells was found in both echolocation call- and noise-selective regions. This was due to differences in cortical layers V–VI, but not layers I–IV. In the MGB, CB+ cells were present across all divisions of the MGB, with a higher percentage in the MGBv than the SG. Perhaps the most surprising result was the virtual absence of PV staining in the MGBv. PV staining was present only in the SG. Even in the SG, the staining was mostly diffuse in the neuropil. These data support the notion that calcium binding proteins are differentially distributed in different processing streams. Our comparative data, however, do not support a general mammalian pattern of PV/CB staining that distinguishes lemniscal and nonlemniscal pathways. J. Comp. Neurol. 522:2431–2445, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

The pallid bat thalamocortical connections contain parallel pathways used in echolocation (E) and passive hearing (N) behaviors. Cortical neurons selective for echolocation calls (E) and those selective for prey-generated noise (N) receive major thalamic inputs from the suprageniculate nucleus and the MGBv, respectively. We show here that these two thalamic regions stain differentially for parvalbumin (PV) and calbindin (CB). There is a surprising virtual lack of PV+ neurons in the MGB.

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