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J Comp Neurol. 1988 Oct 1;276(1):132-56.

The development of the corpus callosum in cats: a light- and electron-microscopic study.

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Institute of Anatomy, Lausanne, Switzerland.


Changes in the size and shape of the corpus callosum (CC)--and in number, size, and structure of callosal axons--between embryonic day 38 (E38) and postnatal day 150 (P150) were studied by light and electron microscope in 25 kittens. The development of the CC was divided into three phases: 1. Embryonic development (E38, 53, 58): At E38, only part of the body of the CC was formed. At E53 and E58, the CC was still very short, but its different parts (genu, body, and splenium) had formed. The cross-sectional callosal area (CCA) was 5.4 mm2 at E53 and 5.6 mm2 at E58. The CC contained 46.3 and 56.4 million axons at E53 and E58 respectively. Mean axon diameters were 0.26 micron at E53 and 0.27 micron at E58. 2. Early postnatal development (P4, 9, 15, 18, 21, 26): The CC at P4 was much longer than at E58 and still slightly elongated during this phase; CCA reached 8.55 mm2 at P4 and 8.88 mm2 at P26. There was a substantial axonal loss (66.8 million at P4 and 52.6 million at P26). From P15 onward, premyelinated and myelinated axons were seen. Mean axon diameter increased from 0.30 micron at P4 to 0.33 micron at P26. 3. Late postnatal development (P39, 57, 92, 107, 150). The CC grew dramatically in both length and thickness, the latter especially in the genu. CCA was 10.1 mm2 at P39 and 15.3 mm2 at P150. The number of axons still decreased (46.5 million at P39 and 31.9 million at P150). The growth of the CCA paralleled the increase of myelinated axons (0.5% at P26 and 29.6% at P150 and in the mean axon diameters (0.34 micron at P39 and 0.42 micron at P150). A number of axonal ultrastructural peculiarities (electron-dense bodies, large vacuoles, lamellated bodies, etc., including those mentioned below) were noticed; their frequency at different ages was estimated as the percent of total axons. Interestingly, accumulations of vesicles inside axons increased from 4.1% at E53 to 8.9% at P26, dropped to 0.2% at P39, and remained below 1% thereafter. Swollen mitochondria increased from 0.2% at E53 to 0.9% at P26 and dropped to 0.06% (on the average) from P39 onward. Accumulations of vesicles and swollen mitochondria increased during the phase of rapid axonal elimination; thus, they may indicate axonal retraction and/or degeneration. Microglia-gitter cells and astrocytes showing signs of phagocytosis were found during the embryonic and early postnatal development and may be involved in axon elimination.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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