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Adamczyk, Christopher; Strupp, Michael; Jahn, Klaus and Horn, Anja K. E. (2015): Calretinin as a Marker for Premotor Neurons Involved in Upgaze in Human Brainstem. In: Frontiers in Neuroanatomy, Vol. 9, 153 [PDF, 2MB]

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Eye movements are generated by different premotor pathways. Damage to them can cause specific deficits of eye movements, such as saccades. For correlative clinico-anatomical post-mortem studies of cases with eye movement disorders it is essential to identify the functional cell groups of the oculomotor system in the human brain by marker proteins. Based on monkey studies, the premotor neurons of the saccadic system can be identified by the histochemical markers parvalbumin (PAV) and perineuronal nets in humans. These areas involve the interstitial nucleus of Cajal (INC) and the rostral interstitial nucleus of the medial longitudinal fascicle (RIMLF),which both contain premotor neurons for upgaze and downgaze. Recent monkey and human studies revealed a selective excitatory calretinin (CR)-positive input to the motoneurons mediating upgaze, but not to those for downgaze. Three premotor regions were identified as sources of CR input in monkey: y-group, INC and RIMLF. These findings suggest that the expression pattern of parvalbumin and CR may help to identify premotor neurons involved in up- or downgaze. In a postmortem study of five human cases without neurological diseases we investigated the y-group, INC and RIMLF for the presence of parvalbumin and CR positive neurons including their co-expression. Adjacent thin paraffin sections were stained for the aggrecan (ACAN) component of perineuronal nets, parvalbumin or CR and glutamate decarboxylase. The comparative analysis of scanned thin sections of INC and RIMLF revealed medium-sized parvalbumin positive neurons with and without CR coexpression, which were intermingled. The parvalbumin/CR positive neurons in both nuclei are considered as excitatory premotor upgaze neurons.

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