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J Child Neurol. 2001 Nov;16(11):849-53.

NeuroD homologue expression during cortical development in the human brain.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.


Neurogenesis and neuronal differentiation are determined by the NeuroD homologues, transcription factors belonging to a family of basic helix-loop-helix proteins. The authors used in situ hybridization with full-length riboprobes for NeuroD1, NeuroD2, and NeuroD3 to describe the expression of the NeuroD homologues in a gestational sequence of human fetal brains. Acridine orange histofluorescence was used to differentiate neuronal from non-neuronal cell precursors. At the earliest gestational age examined (gestational week 16), signals for all three homologues could be identified but that for NeuroD3 was most intense. Peak expression of NeuroD1 and NeuroD2 followed at gestational weeks 19 and 20, respectively. Although similar to the expression of these homologues in the mouse cerebrum, notable differences were observed. Specifically, signals for all three homologues were detected in the marginal zone and the ventricular zone, including the ganglionic eminence. The temporal order of expression in the human is similar to that in the mouse, in spite of these anatomic differences. These data are consistent with NeuroD3 serving as a determination factor, which commits the post-mitotic progenitor cell to a neuronal fate, whereas NeuroD1 and NeuroD2 appear more likely to play a role in neuronal differentiation.

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