Timing is everything: making neurons versus glia in the developing cortex

Neuron. 2007 May 3;54(3):357-69. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2007.04.019.


During development of the mammalian nervous system, neural stem cells generate neurons first and glia second, thereby allowing the initial establishment of neural circuitry, and subsequent matching of glial numbers and position to that circuitry. Here, we have reviewed work addressing the mechanisms underlying this timed cell genesis, with a particular focus on the developing cortex. These studies have defined an intriguing interplay between intrinsic epigenetic status, transcription factors, and environmental cues, all of which work together to establish this fascinating and complex biological timing mechanism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cerebral Cortex* / cytology
  • Cerebral Cortex* / embryology
  • Cerebral Cortex* / growth & development
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Neuroglia / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Transcription Factors / physiology


  • Transcription Factors