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Dev Biol. 1989 Jun;133(2):468-74.

Early regional variations in motoneuron numbers arise by differential proliferation in the chick embryo spinal cord.

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Department of Anatomy, Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.


Regional differences in the number of motoneurons in the spinal cord of the chick are thought to arise developmentally by region-specific cell death and cell migration. In this way, a numerically homogeneous motor column throughout the spinal cord is believed to be molded into the adult pattern. Region-specific differences in proliferation are not thought to play a significant role in this process. By counting motoneurons in serial sections throughout the rostral-caudal extent of the spinal cord on Embryonic Day 4 in the chick, we have found that the numerical variations in motoneurons in different spinal cord regions are already foreshadowed by this stage, which is before the onset of both cell death and the secondary migration of neurons out of the motor column. These results indicate that although nonproliferative events may contribute to the later regional variations in motoneuron numbers, the initial differences themselves are created early on by regionally specific proliferative events.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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