Journal of Neurocytology

, Volume 34, Issue 6, pp 421–434 | Cite as

Reduction in parvalbumin expression in the zona incerta after 6OHDA lesion in rats



In an effort to understand better the neurochemical changes that occur in Parkinson disease, we have examined the expression patterns of the calcium-binding protein parvalbumin in the zona incerta in parkinsonian rats. Sprague-Dawley rats had small volumes of either saline (control) or 6 hydroxydopamine (6OHDA) injected into the medial forebrain bundle, the major tract carrying dopaminergic nigrostriatal axons. After various post-lesion survival periods, ranging from 2 hrs to 84 days, rats were perfused with formaldehyde and their brains processed for routine tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) or parvalbumin immunocytochemistry. In the 3 to 84 days post-lesion cases, there was an overall 50% reduction in the number of parvalbumin+ cells in the zona incerta on the 6OHDA-lesioned side when compared to control. In the 2 hrs post-lesion cases, there was no substantial loss of parvalbumin+ cells in the zona incerta after 6OHDA lesion, although in these cases (unlike the longer survival periods), there was limited loss of TH+ cells in the midbrain on the lesion side. The loss of parvalbumin+ cells from the zona incerta was due to a loss of antigen expression rather than a loss of the cells themselves, since the number of Nissl-stained cells in the zona incerta was similar on the control and 6OHDA-lesioned sides. In summary, our results indicate that a loss of the midbrain dopaminergic cells induces a major change in parvalbumin expression within the zona incerta. This change may have key functional and clinical implications.


Tyrosine Hydroxylase Substantia Nigra MPTP Parkinson Disease Apomorphine 



6 hydroxydopamine


cerebral peduncle


caudate-putamen complex


globus pallidus


habenular complex


intralaminar nuclei


lateral geniculate complex


lateral hypothalamus


medial forebrain bundle


medial lemniscus


phosphate buffered saline


parafascicular nucleus


posterior thalamic nucleus




superior colliculus


substantia nigra pars compacta




red nucleus


tyrosine hydroxylase


ventral posterior nucleus


ventral tegmental area


zona incerta


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© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anatomy & HistologyUniversity of SydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Medical SchoolAustralian National UniversityAustralia

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