It has been suggested that lower motor neurons containing calcium-binding proteins (CBP) may be resistant to degeneration in motor neuron disease. The testing of this hypothesis is hampered by lack of comprehensive information regarding the presence of CBPs in motor neurons. To address this shortcoming, we investigated the distribution of the CBPs calbindin-D28K (CB), parvalbumin (PV) and calretinin (CRT) in lower motor neurons in the normal human and two non-human primates (rhesus monkey and common marmoset) using immunohistochemistry. A variable proportion of motor neurons in cranial nerve motor nuclei contained immunoreactivity for one or more CBPs. A subpopulation of spinal cord α-motor neurons was also CBP-positive. Comparison of staining for choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) and CBPs in the human spinal cord demonstrated that approximately 63% of ventral horn motor neurons contained PV, 53% contained CRT and 56% contained CB. CBP immunoreactivity within motor neurons was of variable staining intensity. It remains to be established whether the presence of these CBPs confers protection against the pathogenic mechanisms of motor neuron disease.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Common marmoset
- Non-phosphorylated neurofilaments
- Rhesus monkey
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