The aim of our study was to analyze the influence of the open field (OF) exposure on: 1. Distribution of c-Fos positive nuclei in: ventral tegmental area, substantia nigra, periaqueductal gray. 2. Appearance of calbindin-D28k, calretinin and parvalbumin in midbrain neurons that are engaged in the stress response. 3. Changes of c-Fos and calcium-binding proteins expression during maturation. The material consisted of Wistar rats of age between 0 and 90 days. The OF exposure was applied throughout 10 min and 90 min before the death of the animals. The brain sections were double stained using the antibodies against c-Fos, CB, CR or PV. Our results showed that in all studied nuclei age-related increase of c-Fos expression (without changing of its distribution properties) was found. PV didn't show any co-localization with c-Fos in neurons of studied regions at any ages, however some PV-immunoreactive (PV-ir) basket-like structures around c-Fos-immunoreactive (c-Fos-ir) neurons were observed. In the youngest group of rats c-Fos-ir cells and cells immunoreactive for CB and CR constituted separate neuronal populations. During maturation increases in the level of their co-localization with c-Fos was observed. We may conclude that in adult rat midbrain structures CB-immunoreactive (CB-ir) and CR-immunoreactive (CR-ir) cells (probably projection neurons) are mainly activated in the stress response following OF exposure. In the contrary PV-ir cells has only an indirect (modulatory) influence upon the c-Fos-ir cells.