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Brain Res. 1988 Jan-Mar;472(1):1-23.

Development and decision-making in the mammalian cerebral cortex.

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Vision Center Laboratory, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, San Diego, CA 92138.


One of the fundamental tasks of neurobiology is to understand how the precision and specificity of the adult nervous system is achieved during development. This paper reviews the progress that has been made toward this end in studies of the developing mammalian cerebral cortex. Particular attention is focused on the problem of how cortical neurons make decisions during development: the correlation between a neuron's 'birthday' and its final laminar destination and projection patterns has raised the possibility that young neurons may be committed to their adult fates very early on in development, perhaps prior to migration. Indeed, several lines of evidence reviewed here suggest that at least some of the decisions made by cortical neurons are intrinsic properties of the cell itself. These studies include experiments on the reeler mouse mutant, and more recent attempts to manipulate developmental fates by pharmacological interventions and transplantation techniques. It is concluded that early commitment events in the cerebral cortex may specify a neuron's laminar position and restrict the range of potential axonal projections that the cell may form, but that local positional cues direct neurons to select (or maintain) only certain of the possible projections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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