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Mech Dev. 2004 Oct;121(10):1189-97.

Strategies of vertebrate neurulation and a re-evaluation of teleost neural tube formation.

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Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Nine Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.


The vertebrate neural tube develops by two distinct mechanisms. Anteriorly, in the brain and future trunk (cervicothoracic) region, 'primary neurulation' occurs, where an epithelial sheet rolls or bends into a tube. Posteriorly, in the future lumbar and tail region, the neural tube forms by 'secondary neurulation', where a mesenchymal cell population condenses to form a solid rod that undergoes transformation to an epithelial tube. Teleost neurulation has been described as different from that of other vertebrates. This is principally because the teleost trunk neural tube initially forms a solid rod (the neural keel) that later develops a lumen. This process has also been termed secondary neurulation. However, this description is not accurate since the teleost neural tube derives from an epithelial sheet that folds. This best fits the description of primary neurulation. It has also been suggested that teleost neurulation is primitive, however, both primary and secondary neurulation are found in groups with a more ancient origin than the teleosts. The similarity between neurulation in teleosts and other vertebrates indicates that this group includes viable models (such as the zebrafish) for understanding human neural tube development.

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