The First Appearance of the Neural Tube and Optic Primordium in the Human Embryo at Stage 10

Anat Embryol (Berl). 1985;172(2):157-69. doi: 10.1007/BF00319598.


Thirteen embryos of stage 10 (22 days) were studied in detail and graphic reconstructions of most of them were prepared. The characteristic feature of this stage is 4-12 pairs of somites. Constantly present are the prechordal and notochordal plates (the notochord sensu stricto is not yet apparent), the neurenteric canal or at least its site, the thyroid primordium, probably the mesencephalic and rhombencephalic neural crest and the adenohypophysial primordium. During this stage, the following features appear: terminal notch, optic sulcus, initial formation of neural tube, oropharyngeal membrane, pulmonary primordium, cardiac loop, aortic arches 1-3, intersegmental arteries, and laryngotracheal groove. The primitive streak is still an important feature. Graphic reconstructions have permitted the detection of the telencephalic portion of the forebrain, for the first time at such an early stage. It is proposed that the remainder of the forebrain comprises two subdivisions: D1, which becomes largely the optic primordium during stage 10, and D2, which is the future thalamic region. The optic sulcus is found in D1 but does not extent into D2, as has been claimed in the literature. An indication of invagination of the otic disc appears towards the end of the stage. As compared with the previous stage, the prosencephalon has increased in length, the mesencephalon has remained the same, the rhombencephalon has decreased, and the spinal part of the neural plate has increased fivefold in length. The site of the initial closure of the neural groove is rhombencephalic, upper cervical, or both. The neural plate extends caudally beyond the site of the neurenteric canal. Cytoplasmic inclusions believed to indicate locations of great activity were always detected in the forebrain (especially in the optic primordium), and also in the rhombencephalon, spinal part, and mesencephalon.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain / embryology
  • Cardiovascular System / embryology
  • Central Nervous System / embryology*
  • Ear / embryology
  • Embryo, Mammalian / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Intestines / embryology
  • Lung / embryology
  • Neural Crest / anatomy & histology
  • Notochord / anatomy & histology
  • Oropharynx / embryology
  • Pituitary Gland, Anterior / embryology
  • Thyroid Gland / embryology
  • Visual Pathways / embryology*