Regulation of neuroblast cell-cycle kinetics plays a crucial role in the generation of unique features of neocortical areas

J Neurosci. 1997 Oct 15;17(20):7763-83. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.17-20-07763.1997.


Cortical neurons are generated in the germinal zones lining the ventricles before migrating predominantly radially. To investigate regional differences in the cell-cycle kinetics of neuroblasts, pulse [3H]-thymidine injections were made throughout corticogenesis, and labeled neuron counts were compared in areas 3, 6, 17, and 18a in the adult mouse. The relationship between height in the cortex and intensity of autoradiographic signal distinguishes first generation and subsequent generations of neurons. This provides the mitotic history of defined sets of neurons and is a powerful tool for analyzing areal differences in cell-cycle kinetics. The infragranular laminar labeling indices of different generations show significant differences in areas 3 and 6. The labeling index of first generation neurons shows that the rate of neuron production is higher in area 3 than in area 6. This increased generation rate in area 3 was accompanied by two major changes. First, computation of the labeling index of the subsequent generation neurons (which reflects percentages of precursors in S-phase at the moment of the pulse) indicates a shorter cell cycle in area 3. Second, the total population of labeled neurons contains a higher proportion of first generation neurons in area 3, implying a higher leaving fraction in this area. Computer simulations of these areal differences of cell-cycle kinetics generate neuron numbers that are in close agreement with published data. Altogether these findings reveal an early regionalization of the ventricular zone that serves to generate unique features of future cortical areas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Cell Cycle / physiology
  • Cell Division
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / embryology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / growth & development
  • Computer Simulation
  • Embryo, Mammalian / physiology
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Thymidine / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Thymidine