Calbindin is a calcium-binding protein belonging to the troponin C superfamily. It functions as a buffer of cytosolic calcium and is found in the brain, kidney, gut and pancreatic islets. In normal brain, calbindin (28kD) has been identified in medium sized neurons of the neuropil of the matrix compartment of the striatum, the woolly fiber arrangements of the globus pallidus and the fiber structures of the pars reticula of the substantia nigra.
The normal expression of calbindin is modified in patients with progressive supranuclear palsy, striatal degeneration and Huntington's disease (HD). In HD, alterations to the dendritic arbors and spiny striatal neurons may be visualized by immunohistochemistry for calbindin. In moderate grades of HD, proliferative changes have been found in these areas and in severe grades, degenerative changes have been noted. A proportion of dendritic cells within the light zone of germinal centers are also noted to be positive for calbindin.
Calbindin, via the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray (vlPAG), is thought to play a role in the reactions characteristic of deep pain.
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