The subdivisions of human inferior colliculus are currently based on Golgi and Nissl-stained preparations. We have investigated the distribution of calcium-binding protein immunoreactivity in the human inferior colliculus and found complementary or mutually exclusive localisations of parvalbumin versus calbindin D-28k and calretinin staining. The central nucleus of the inferior colliculus but not the surrounding regions contained parvalbumin-positive neuronal somata and fibres. Calbindin-positive neurons and fibres were concentrated in the dorsal aspect of the central nucleus and in structures surrounding it: the dorsal cortex, the lateral lemniscus, the ventrolateral nucleus, and the intercollicular region. In the dorsal cortex, labelling of calbindin and calretinin revealed four distinct layers. Thus, calcium-binding protein reactivity reveals in the human inferior colliculus distinct neuronal populations that are anatomically segregated. The different calcium-binding protein-defined subdivisions may belong to parallel auditory pathways that were previously demonstrated in non-human primates, and they may constitute a first indication of parallel processing in human subcortical auditory structures.
- Auditory pathways
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