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J Neurosci. 1985 Apr;5(4):1062-75.

Studies of the earliest generated cells of the cat's visual cortex: cogeneration of subplate and marginal zones.


The earliest generated cells of the cat's telencephalon that may play a role in the formation of the primary visual cortex are the subject of this study. Using [3H]thymidine autoradiography, we have found that these cells are generated between embryonic day 24 (E24) and E30 (gestation is 65 days) and that they are present in very low numbers in the white matter of the adult brain. These cells are rarely labeled by injections made after E30, when the cells destined for the cortical layers are generated. Examination of the labeling pattern in the fetal brain 10 days or more after administration of [3H]thymidine between E24 and E30 revealed a bistratified distribution of these early generated cells. Labeled cells were found in large numbers in two embryonic zones flanking the developing cortical plate: above in the marginal zone and below in the subplate. (Some if not all of the marginal zone cells constitute the population of Cajal-Retzius cells of the cat's telencephalon.). These experiments indicate that cells of the subplate and marginal zones are cogenerated in time during the days just preceding the genesis of the cortical plate. We also examined the distribution of the early generated cells shortly after their genesis--on E30, a time when cells of the cortical plate are just being generated at the ventricular zone. In this case, the labeling pattern at the occipital pole was not bistratified. Rather, labeled cells were situated within a single zone extending from the pial surface inward to the border of the ventricular zone. This finding indicates that the cells of the subplate and marginal zones are generated as a contiguous population that is subsequently split apart by the insertion of cells forming the cortical plate. A comparison between the number of early generated cells found in fetal and newborn brains with that found in adult brains suggests that these cells are generated initially in substantial numbers but then largely disappear during early postnatal life, since injections of [3H]thymidine between E24 and E30 yielded large numbers of labeled cells in the white matter and layer 1 at birth, but very few at 2 months postnatal. This significant loss contrasted with the results from injections made just a few days later (E33) that resulted in large numbers of labeled cells in cortical layer 6 not only at birth but also in adulthood.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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