Ontogeny of the distribution of tachykinins in rat cerebral cortex: immunocytochemistry and in situ hybridization histochemistry

Lin Zhang, Richard E. Harlan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Tachykinins in the mammalian brain are derived from two genes: preprotachykinin A, encoding substance P and neurokinin A, and preprotachykinin B, encoding neurokinin B. Using immunocytochemistry and in situ hybridization histochemistry, we have investigated the ontogeny and distribution of substance P and neurokinin B in various cortical areas of rat cerebrum at different prenatal and postnatal ages. Preprotachykinin A mRNA-positive and -immunoreactive cells were first detected at birth and were abundant in layer VIb and the adjacent while matter in the cingulate and frontal cortices. By postnatal day 5, the numbers of substance P-expressing cells were diminished dramatically in those layers. However, their number gradually increased and spread out laterally to cover parietal and temporal cortices from P5 to P15 in layer V. At these stages, cells were also observed in layer II, although fewer in number. The number of substance P mRNA-positive neurons and substance P-immunoreactive cells decreased gradually from P10 and P15 onward, respectively. On the other hand, expression of neurokinin B, as detected by in situ hybridization histochemistry or immunocytochemistry, was not evident until P10. Neurons expressing this tachykinin were concentrated in layer II, and to a lesser extent in layers V and VI. This pattern of distribution was retained through P45. The present data show a marked difference between these two tachykinins in onset and trends of development, suggesting functional independence of these two tachykinins in the cerebral cortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-36
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 14 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebral cortex
  • Development
  • Gene expression
  • Neurokinin B
  • Rat
  • Substance P

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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