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J Comp Neurol. 1992 Aug 8;322(2):246-54.

Dynamic changes in the density of radial glial fibers of the developing murine cerebral wall: a quantitative immunohistological analysis.

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Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston 02114.


The density of radial glial fibers in the developing murine cerebral wall decreases dramatically during the terminal week of gestation. The present analysis characterizes these variations of fiber density quantitatively. Radial glial fibers were stained with monoclonal antibody RC2. Fibers were counted in a standard area of 2,000 microns2, passing orthogonally to the fiber long axis. At E14, fiber density is maximum and relatively uniform throughout the full width of the cerebral wall. Subsequently, the overall glial fiber density decreases and fiber density gradients emerge in the transmural span of fibers. These radial fiber density gradients are marked by sharp declines at the level of the ventricular-subventricular zone and in the zone of transition between intermediate zone (IZ) and cortical plate. In the interval E14-P0, the decrease in densities of fibers crossing the IZ is commensurate with the predicted diluting effects of tissue expansion with growth. By contrast, the decrease in fiber densities in ascent across the cortical plate beyond E14 through E17 exceeds that predicted by growth. The observations suggest that a substantial population of radial glial fibers do not span the full ventricular zone to the cerebral surface. A major contingent appears to extend only as far as the external sagittal stratum/subplate through E16. Subsequently, at a time when supragranular cortical layers are being assembled, the full set of fibers appears to extend more uniformly through the cortical strata. The late surge of fibers would be appropriate to the intercalation of groupings of neurons of the supragranular layers.

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