Immunohistochemical study was performed to examine if calcium-binding proteins are involved in the degeneration of motor neurons in the brain stems and the spinal cords of transgenic mice carrying a G93A mutant human SOD1 gene. Specimens from age-matched non-transgenic wild-type mice served as controls. In the spinal cord of the controls, the density of parvalbumin-immunoreactive neurons was highest in the large anterior horn neurons and lower in the posterior horn neurons in the spinal cord. On the other hand, calbindin D-28k immunoreactivity was much less apparent than that observed with parvalbumin antisera. Rexed's lamina II was densely immunostained for calbindin D-28k, whereas, in the anterior horn, calbindin-D-28k-positive small neurons were barely dispersed in a scattered pattern. In transgenic mice, parvalbumin-positive anterior horn neurons were severely reduced, even at the presymptomatic stage, whereas calbindin-positive neurons were largely preserved. At the symptomatic stage, both parvalbumin and calbindin D-28k immunoreactivity markedly diminished or disappeared in the anterior horn. Immunoblotting analysis revealed a significant reduction of immunoreactivity to parvalbumin antibody in transgenic mice compared with the controls. In the brain stem, parvalbumin-positive oculomotor and abducens neurons and the calbindin D-28k-positive sixth nucleus were well-preserved in transgenic mice as well as in the controls. Thus, the diffuse and severe loss of parvalbumin immunoreactivity of large motor neurons even at early stages in SOD1-transgenic mice and the absence of calbindin D-28k immunoreactivity of normal large motor neurons suggest that these calcium-binding proteins may contribute to selective vulnerability and an early loss of function of large motor neurons in this SOD1-transgenic mouse model.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Calbindin D-28k
- SOD1 mutation
- Transgenic mice