Fasciculation in the early mouse trigeminal nerve is not ordered in relation to the emerging pattern of whisker follicles

J Comp Neurol. 1986 Nov 1;253(1):13-24. doi: 10.1002/cne.902530103.


Detailed reconstructions of lengths of the embryonic mouse maxillary nerve were made from serial light and electron microscope sections to determine whether there is any correspondence between the arrangement of fasciculi in the developing nerve and the emerging pattern of whisker follicles on the snout. There was neither correspondence nor obvious pattern in the arrangement of fasciculi at either E11, when trigeminal nerve fibers first contact the presumptive whisker pad, or at E12, when the pattern of developing whisker follicles becomes apparent. Fasciculi merged and branched to form an intricate plexus. Furthermore, the ratio of the number of nerve fibers in one fasciculus to the number in another prior to their merger differed significantly from the ratio of fiber numbers in the two fasciculi after their separation, which indicates that nerve fibers are freely exchanged between fasciculi. Our findings suggest that the somatotopic representation of the whisker follicle pattern in the brainstem does not develop by nerve fiber growth augmenting an initially ordered pattern of fasciculi.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Stem / embryology
  • Cell Count
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development
  • Maxillary Nerve / embryology
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Neural Pathways / embryology
  • Trigeminal Nerve / cytology
  • Trigeminal Nerve / embryology*
  • Vibrissae / embryology*