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Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 1989 Nov 1;50(1):101-11.

Intrinsic and extrinsic factors collaborate to generate driving forces for neural tube formation in the chick: a study using morphometry and computerized three-dimensional reconstruction.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-School of Osteopathic Medicine, Camden 08103.


The formation of the neural tube, the rudiment of the entire central nervous system, is one of the earliest morphogenetic movements. The origin of the driving forces for this process remains uncertain, but recent studies suggest the involvement of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. In the present study, we have used morphometry, analysis of stereopair photographs of whole embryos, and computerized three-dimensional reconstruction to investigate the factors which constitute the bulk of the driving forces for neural tube formation in the developing midbrain of Hamburger and Hamilton stages 5-9 chick embryos. Results support the notion that neural tube formation is driven by a coordinated interplay of intrinsic and extrinsic forces. Initial bending of the neural plate along the midline of the embryo and uplifting of the neural folds is accomplished primarily through the combined action of intrinsic forces (resulting from apical constriction of neuroepithelial cells) and extrinsic forces (mostly a passive consequence of head-fold formation). However, once in the uplifted position, curling over of neural folds and closure of the neural tube is driven largely by apical constriction-mediated (intrinsic) forces that are generated by cells in the midlateral walls of the forming neural tube.

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