Transient fetal structure, the gangliothalamic body, connects telencephalic germinal zone with all thalamic regions in the developing human brain

J Comp Neurol. 1997 Aug 4;384(3):373-95. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1096-9861(19970804)384:3<373::aid-cne5>;2-z.


Previous studies reported that telencephalic proliferative zones contribute to the development of the pulvinar thalamic nucleus in the human brain (Rakic and Sidman [1969] Z. Anat. Entwicklungsgesch. 129:53-82). The present study examined their possible contribution to the development of other thalamic nuclei. Postmortem brain tissue from human fetuses ranging between 10.5 and 40 weeks of gestation (wg) was processed by Nissl staining, Golgi impregnation, and MAP2 (microtubule-associated protein 2) immunocytochemistry. The gangliothalamic body, suggested to serve as a conduit for cells migrating from the ganglionic eminence to the thalamus, was found in the period from 15 to 34 wg in all rostrocaudal thalamic regions, particularly at the level of the anterior nuclear complex, mediodorsal and pulvinar nucleus, and in addition, the lateral geniculate nucleus. In Nissl-stained sections, the gangliothalamic body is a thin cellular layer situated beneath the thalamic surface, near the telencephalo-diencephalic junction. In Golgi- and MAP2-stained sections, it is a stream of mostly bipolar cells extending from the ganglionic eminence to the medial thalamus. In addition, MAP2-immunoreactivity confirms the neuronal nature of its cells. The present study further supports the hypothesis that certain neurons migrate from the ganglionic eminence to the thalamus through the transient gangliothalamic body during fetal development. Moreover, our data indicate that both the association (mediodorsal and pulvinar), as well as the anterior (limbic) and specific relay nuclei are potential recipients of the telencephalic neurons.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / physiology
  • Ganglia / chemistry
  • Ganglia / embryology*
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / analysis
  • Telencephalon / chemistry
  • Telencephalon / embryology*
  • Thalamic Nuclei / chemistry
  • Thalamic Nuclei / embryology*


  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins