Illusive transience of parvalbumin expression during embryonic development of the primate spinal cord

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Parvalbumin has been located by pre-embedding light- and electron microscopic immuno histochemical techniques in the spinal cords of monkey fetuses (Macaca fasciculata), ranging from E70 to E 123, and in young (P20) and young adult (3 years) Macaque monkeys. During the time window investigated, the main developmental events of parvalbumin-containing neural elements are that parvalbumin-positive dorsal root collaterals establish intercellular networks first around nerve cells of Clarke's nucleus, then in the motoneuron pool and finally in the upper dorsal horn. In each of these areas, location of the parvalbumin-positive network is gradually shifted from medial to lateral. Whenever an intercellular network is established, nerve cells innervated by parvalbumin-positive terminals of dorsal root collaterals start to express parvalbumin. Immunoreactivity of dorsal root axons is transient; it disappears first from the intercellular networks and, afterwards, also from the dorsal columns. However, the pericellular synaptic terminals and their post-synaptic nerve cells express parvalbumin into adulthood. It is concluded that sonic of the large (Type A) dorsal root ganglion cells are the first ones in the spinal reflex pathway to express parvalbumin, which is elicited and gradually increased in nerve cells synaptically innervated by parvalbumin-positive axon terminals. This seems to represent a specific case of activation (or desinhibiton) of the genome. Apparent 'transience' of parvalbumin is due to the specific geometry of primary sensory neurons equipped with extremely long axonal processes, and the consequent specialities of axonal transport characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-97
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Neuroscience
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 1999



  • Development
  • Parvalbumin
  • Primate
  • Spinal cord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology

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