Anatomy and Embryology

, Volume 184, Issue 2, pp 103–124 | Cite as

Ontogeny of the calcium binding protein parvalbumin in the rat nervous system

  • Sven Solbach
  • Marco R. Celio


In the adult rat brain, the calcium-binding protein parvalbumin is preferentially associated with spontaneously fast-firing, metabolically active neurons and coexists with gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA) in cortical inhibitory interneurons. Whether this is so in developing neurons has not been explored. To this end, we have used parvalbumin immunohistochemistry to study expression of this protein in the rat nervous system during pre- and postnatal life. Our results indicate that parvalbumin first appears at embryonic day 13 in sensory system of the spinal cord, in the vestibular (VIII), the trigeminal (V) and the visuomotor (III, IV VI) systems, and develops rapidly during the following days. In these locations the expression of parvalbumin coincides with the beginning of physiological activity in nerve cells. In the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-containing interneurons of the cerebral cortex and the hippocampus, as well as in the Purkinje cells of the cerebellum, parvalbumin only appears postnatally. It lags behind the development of GABA-immunoreactivity by 1 to 2 weeks. The beginning of its expression, in the cerebellum at least, coincides with the arrival of excitatory synaptic input and the onset of spontaneous activity. Thus, during the development of the nervous system, the expression of parvalbumin is subordinate to the establishment of physiological activity.

Key words

Ca2+ Visuomotor system Vestibular system Somatosensory system GABA-interneurons Neuronal marker 



oculomotor nucleus


trochlear nucleus


trochlear nerve


abducens nucleus


hypoglossal nucleus


oculomotor nerve


4th ventricle


trigeminal ganglion


trigeminal nerve


trigeminal nerve, maxillary branch


cochlear ganglion


vestibular ganglion


vestibular nerve


vagal nerve


ambiguus nucleus


calcium-binding protein




choroid plexus




caudate putamen


cuneate nucleus


cerebral cortex


dorsal funiculus spinal cord


dorsal root spinal nerve


embryonic day 15 of gestation


external cuneate nucleus


formatio reticularis


gamma-amino-butyric acid


glutamate decarboxylase


granular layer cerebellum


gracile nucleus






inferior colliculus


inferior olive, kap cooy medial nucleus




lacunosum moleculare layer hippocampus




lateral ventricle


lateral vestibular nucleus (ventral)


lateral vestibular nucleus (dorsal)


mesencephalic trigeminal tract


mesencephalic trigeminal nucleus




molecular layer cerebellum


medial vestibular nucleus


oriens layer hippocampus

P 2

postnatal day 2


Purkinje-cell layer, cerebellum


pyramidal cell layer, hippocampus


red nucleus




reticular thalamic nucleus




substantia nigra


spinal ganglion


spinal trigeminal tract


spinal vestibular nucleus


spinal trigeminal nucleus, interpolar


superior colliculus


superior vestibular nucleus


tris-buffered saline


tactile hair sinus


vestibular epithelium


vertebral body


ventral horn spinal cord


ventrolateral thalamic nucleus


ventral pallidum


ventral root spinal nerve


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sven Solbach
    • 1
  • Marco R. Celio
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of AnatomyChristian-Albrechts-University KielKielGermany

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