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, 175 (2), 205-22

The Development of the Human Brain and the Closure of the Rostral Neuropore at Stage 11

The Development of the Human Brain and the Closure of the Rostral Neuropore at Stage 11

F Müller et al. Anat Embryol (Berl).


Twenty embryos of stage 11 (24 days) were studied in detail and graphic reconstructions of twelve of them were prepared. The characteristic feature of this stage is 13-20 pairs of somites. The notochord sensu stricto appears first during this stage, and its rostral and caudal parts differ in origin. Rostrally, the notochordal plate is being transformed into the notochord in a caudorostral direction. The caudal part, however, arises from the axial condensation in the caudal eminence in a rostrocaudal direction. The caudal eminence (or end bud) represents the former primitive streak. The somites are increasing in number at a mean rate of 6.6 h per pair. The rostral neuropore closes towards the end of stage 11. The closure is basically bidirectional, being more rapid in the roof region and producing the embryonic lamina terminalis and future commissural plate in the basal region. The caudal neuropore is constantly open. The brain comprises telencephalon medium (represented by the embryonic lamina terminalis) and a series of neuromeres: 2 for the forebrain (D1 and D2), 1 for the midbrain, and 6-7 for the hindbrain (RhA-C; RhD is not clearly delineated). The forebrain still occupies a small proportion of the total brain, whereas the spinal part of the neural tube is lengthening rapidly. Some occlusion of the lumen of the neural tube was noted in 4 embryos, all of which had an open rostral neuropore. Hence there is at present no evidence that occlusion plays a role in expansion of the human brain. The marginal (primordial plexiform) layer is appearing, particularly in rhombomere D and in the spinal portion of the neural tube. The neural crest is still forming from both the (open) neural groove and the (closed) neural tube, and exclusively from both neural (including optic) and (mainly) otic ectoderm. The optic sulcus is now prominent, and its wall becomes transformed into the optic vesicle towards the end of stage 11. At this time also, an optic sheath derived from mesencephalic crest and optic crest is present. The mitotic figures of the optic neural crest are exceptional in being situated in the external part of the neural epithelium. The otic pit is becoming deeper, and its wall is giving rise to neural crest that is partly added to the faciovestibulocochlear ganglion and partly forms an otic sheath. The nasal plate does not yet give off neural crest.

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