Postnatal development of calbindin and parvalbumin immunoreactivity in the thalamus of the rat

Carolina Frassoni, Marina Bentivoglio, Roberto Spreafico, Marina P. Sánchez, Luis Puelles, Alfonso Fairen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The maturation of the calcium binding proteins calbindin-D28k (CB) and parvalbumin (PV) during the first 3 postnatal weeks was studied in the rat thalamus using immunohistochemistry. These two proteins display a non-homogeneous distribution in the adult thalamus. In the rat, CB is mainly localized in the neurons and neuropil of the thalamic midline, intralaminar, and ventromedial nuclei, as well as in the posterior complex. At birth, CB-immunoreactive cell bodies were evident in thalamic midline structures, and especially in the nucleus reuniens. The number of thalamic CB-positive cell bodies, as well as the intensity of the neuropil immunostaining, increased progressively in the first postnatal weeks. This quantitative increase was first apparent in the midline structures and then in the other thalamic territories which are CB-positive in adulthood, and followed a mediolateral gradient. The mature pattern was achieved by the end of the third postnatal week. In the adult rat thalamus the neurons of the reticular nucleus display PV-immunostaining and PV-positive fibers densely innervate most of the dorsal thalamic domains. PV-immunoreactivity was clearly evident at birth in the cell bodies of the reticular nucleus. The density of PV-containing fibers increased progressively after birth in the dorsal thalamus, with a lateromedial gradient. At the end of the third postnatal week the ventroposterior (VP) complex appeared heavily innervated by PV-positive fibers, whose density in more medial structures was still lower than in the adult thalamus. A transient hyperinnervation of PV-immunoreactive fibers, displaying a dishomogeneous organization in distinct segments, was observed in VP, and especially in the ventroposteromedial nucleus, during the second postnatal week. Altogether these findings indicate that the maturation of CB and PV requires postnatally a relatively prolonged period of time. The possible involvement of these proteins in different functional aspects of thalamic neuronal maturation is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-249
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Brain Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 22 1991


  • Calcium binding protein
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Neuronal maturation
  • Postnatal development
  • Thalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Postnatal development of calbindin and parvalbumin immunoreactivity in the thalamus of the rat'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this