Morphologic fate of diencephalic prosomeres and their subdivisions revealed by mapping cadherin expression

J Comp Neurol. 2000 Jun 12;421(4):481-514. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1096-9861(20000612)421:4<481::aid-cne3>;2-h.


The expression of four cadherins (cadherin-6B, cadherin-7, R-cadherin, and N-cadherin) was mapped in the diencephalon of chicken embryos at 11 days and 15 days of incubation and was compared with Nissl stains and radial glial topology. Results showed that each cadherin is expressed in a restricted manner by a different set of embryonic divisions, brain nuclei, and their subregions. An analysis of the segmental organization based on the prosomeric model indicated that, in the mature diencephalon, each prosomere persists and forms a coherent domain of gray matter extending across the entire transverse dimension of the neural tube, from the ventricular surface to the pial surface. Moreover, the results suggest the presence of a novel set of secondary subdivisions for the dorsal thalamus (dorsal, intermediate, and ventral tiers and anteroventral subregion). They also confirm the presence of secondary subdivisions in the pretectum (commissural, juxtacommissural, and precommissural). At most of the borders between the prosomeres and their secondary subdivisions, changes in radial glial fiber density were observed. The diencephalic brain nuclei that derive from each of the subdivisions were determined. In addition, a number of previously less well-characterized gray matter regions of the diencephalon were defined in more detail based on the mapping of cadherin expression. The results demonstrate in detail how the divisions of the early embryonic diencephalon persist and transform into mature gray matter architecture during brain morphogenesis, and they support the hypothesis that cadherins play a role in this process by providing a framework of potentially adhesive specificities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cadherins / metabolism*
  • Chick Embryo
  • Diencephalon / cytology*
  • Diencephalon / embryology*
  • Diencephalon / metabolism
  • Epithalamus / cytology
  • Epithalamus / embryology
  • Epithalamus / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Neuroglia / cytology
  • Neuroglia / metabolism
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Thalamus / cytology
  • Thalamus / embryology
  • Thalamus / metabolism


  • Cadherins