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J Comp Neurol. 1983 Oct 1;219(4):431-47.

Transient cholinesterase staining in the mediodorsal nucleus of the thalamus and its connections in the developing human and monkey brain.


The histochemical and morphological maturation of the mediodorsal nucleus (MD) and its connections were compared in human and rhesus monkey using acetylthiocholine iodide and Nissl methods. Histochemical analysis in fetuses, neonates, and adults of both primate species revealed that MD passes through three major stages of cholinesterase (ChE) reactivity. In Stage I (up to about 16 fetal weeks in man; 9 fetal weeks in monkey), ChE staining gradually increases in the MD nucleus and is intense in axons directed toward the frontal lobe through the internal and external capsules. In Stage II (about 16-28 fetal weeks in man; about 9-14 weeks in monkey), ChE staining in MD reaches peak intensity so that reaction product in the neurons and neuropil blackens the entire nucleus in both species. In favorable planes of section, ChE-positive fibers appear to connect MD and the basal forebrain both of which stain intensely. ChE-positive fibers can also be traced from the lateral margins of MD to the subplate zone beneath the developing frontal cortical plate where they continue to accumulate before later invading the cortex with heaviest concentration in presumptive layers 3 and 5. In Stage III (after 28 weeks of gestation to 6 postnatal months in man; from about 14 fetal weeks until 2 postnatal months in monkey), except for scattered positive cells, ChE staining gradually disappears in MD and the formerly dense laminar pattern in the cortex begins to lighten. The dramatic but transient increase in ChE staining in MD during fetal development as well as the sequentially related changes in its projections indicate that this early appearing enzyme may play a role in the development of the frontal lobe by influencing the differentiation of thalamoprefrontal connections.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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