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Neuroscience. 1998 Apr;83(4):1203-14.

Calretinin immunoreactivity in the developing thalamus of the rat: a marker of early generated thalamic cells.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Neurofisiologia, Istituto Nazionale Neurologico C. Besta, Milano, Italy.


The present work was aimed to study the immunocytochemical localization of the calcium-binding protein, calretinin, in the rat thalamus from embryonic day 14 to the third postnatal week. In the adult rat thalamus, calretinin immunoreactivity is intensely expressed in some intralaminar and midline nuclei, as well as in selected regions of the reticular nucleus. At embryonic day 14, calretinin was expressed by immature and migrating neurons and fibres laterally to the neuroepithelium of the diencephalic vesicle in the region identified as reticular neuroepithelium. At embryonic day 16, immunoreactive neurons were present in the primordium of the reticular nucleus and in the region of the reticular thalamic migration, where neurons showed the morphology of migratory cells. At the end of embryonic development and in the first postnatal week, calretinin-positive neurons were observed in selected region of the reticular nucleus and it was intensely expressed in some intralaminar and midline nuclei. Bands of immunopositive fibres were also observed crossing the thalamus. During the second postnatal week, the immunolabelling in the reuniens, rhomboid, paraventricular and central medial thalamic nuclei remains very intense while a decrease of immunoreactivity in mediodorsal, centrolateral and laterodorsal nuclei was observed. The immunostaining of fibres, particularly evident in the perinatal period, progressively decreased and it was no longer visible by the end of the second postnatal week when the distribution and intensity of calretinin immunostaining was similar to that observed in the adult rat thalamus. The present findings indicate that the immunolocalization of calretinin can be used to identify subsets of thalamic neuronal population during pre- and postnatal maturation allowing also the detection of the migratory pattern of early generated reticular thalamic neurons.

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