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Keywords:

  • calcium-binding proteins;
  • telencephalon;
  • thalamus;
  • brainstem;
  • evolution;
  • amphibians

Abstract

The present study represents a detailed spatiotemporal analysis of the localization of calbindin-D28k (CB) and calretinin (CR) immunoreactive structures in the brain of Xenopus laevis throughout development, conducted with the aim to correlate the onset of the immunoreactivity with the development of compartmentalization of distinct subdivisions recently identified in the brain of adult amphibians and primarily highlighted when analyzed within a segmental paradigm. CR and CB are expressed early in the brain and showed a progressively increasing expression throughout development, although transient expression in some neuronal subpopulations was also noted. Common and distinct characteristics in Xenopus, as compared with reported features during development in the brain of mammals, were observed. The development of specific regions in the forebrain such as the olfactory bulbs, the components of the basal ganglia and the amygdaloid complex, the alar and basal hypothalamic regions, and the distinct diencephalic neuromeres could be analyzed on the basis of the distinct expression of CB and CR in subregions. Similarly, the compartments of the mesencephalon and the main rhombencephalic regions, including the cerebellum, were differently highlighted by their specific content in CB and CR throughout development. Our results show the usefulness of the analysis of the distribution of these proteins as a tool in neuroanatomy to interpret developmental aspects of many brain regions. J. Comp. Neurol. 521:79–108, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.