Temporary sensory deprivation changes calcium-binding proteins levels in the auditory brainstem

Alejandro Caicedo, Christine D'Aldin, Michel Eybalin, Jean Luc Puel

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67 Scopus citations


Auditory brainstem neurons probably depend on afferent input to maintain calcium homeostasis within a narrow range. These neurons are endowed with high concentrations of the calcium-binding proteins parvalbumin, calretinin, and calbindin D28k that are presumed to buffer cytosolic calcium transients. To determine the effects of functional deafferentation on these proteins in the auditory brainstem of adult guinea pigs, we have manipulated the sensory input with an intracochlear perfusion of the glutamate agonist α-amino-3- hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid (AMPA), which is known to transiently disconnect inner hair cells and primary auditory dendrites. Semiquantitative measures of immunostaining intensities showed rapid and reversible changes in calcium-binding protein levels. By 24 hours after AMPA treatment, calretinin immunostaining was reduced in deafferented neurons of the cochlear nuclei and their axons in the superior olivary nuclei. In contrast, calbindin D28k immunoreactivity levels by this time were higher in deafferented neurons of the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body and their axons in the lateral superior olivary nucleus (LSO). Parvalbumin immunostaining was also generally increased in deafferented neurons, but changes were less evident and more complex. The changes in all three immunoreactivities disappeared with the progressive restoration of afferent input. Normal levels were reestablished by 5 days after AMPA treatment, when afferent activity had almost completely recovered. These results show that calcium-binding protein immunostaining in auditory neurons is functionally responsive to afferent activity. The increased buffering capacity in deafferented neurons as shown by the rises in parvalbumin and calbindin D28k immunostaining may be part of mechanisms promoting neuronal survival after loss of sensory input. This input, on the other hand, may be necessary for maintaining the high calretinin levels normally present in cochlear nucleus neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 3 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • calbindin D28k
  • calretinin
  • cochlear nucleus
  • parvalbumin
  • superior olivary complex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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