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Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 1996 May;38(1):145-55.

GAP-43 mRNA expression in early development of human nervous system.

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Department of Neurobiology and Immunology, University of Belgrade, Yugoslavia.


The temporal and spatial distribution of GAP-43 mRNA in early human development, from 6 to 23 gestational weeks (g.w.), was examined by in situ hybridization histochemistry. GAP-43 mRNA was expressed as early as 6 g.w. in all regions of developing nervous system, the spinal cord, brainstem, cerebellum, diencephalic and telencephalic regions. Although the pronounced level of expression persisted during the entire examined period, the intensity of expression varied along the spatial axis over time. Analysis at the cellular level revealed that early on in development (6 g.w.) GAP-43 mRNA was expressed in the entire neuroblast population. With the onset of differentiation, at 13-23 g.w., GAP-43 mRNA expression had switched to the neurons that are in the process outgrowth. The highest level of GAP-43 mRNA expression was localized in the regions consisting of differentiating neurons, such as the cortical plate and intermediate zone of the telencephalic wall, and several delineated subcortical and thalamic nuclei. The spatial and temporal pattern of GAP-43 mRNA expression obtained suggests a possible dual role of GAP-43 in the development of the human nervous system: in the embryonic brain it could be involved in fundamental processes underlying cell proliferation; in the fetal brain its expression is specifically correlated with differentiation and the outgrowth of axons.

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