Hedgehog-Gli signalling and the growth of the brain

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2002 Jan;3(1):24-33. doi: 10.1038/nrn704.


The development of the vertebrate brain involves the creation of many cell types in precise locations and at precise times, followed by the formation of functional connections. To generate its cells in the correct numbers, the brain has to produce many precursors during a limited period. How this is achieved remains unclear, although several cytokines have been implicated in the proliferation of neural precursors. Understanding this process will provide profound insights, not only into the formation of the mammalian brain during ontogeny, but also into brain evolution. Here we review the role of the Sonic hedgehog-Gli pathway in brain development. Specifically, we discuss the role of this pathway in the cerebellar and cerebral cortices, and address the implications of these findings for morphological plasticity. We also highlight future directions of research that could help to clarify the mechanisms and consequences of Sonic hedgehog signalling in the brain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / embryology*
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Cell Cycle / physiology
  • Embryonic Induction
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Trans-Activators / physiology*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Zinc Finger Protein GLI1


  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Oncogene Proteins
  • SHH protein, human
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors
  • Zinc Finger Protein GLI1