Molecular tunnels and boundaries for growing axons in the anterior commissure of hamster embryos

J Comp Neurol. 1998 Sep 21;399(2):176-88. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1096-9861(19980921)399:2<176::aid-cne3>;2-y.


We have analyzed the immunohistochemical expression of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (CSPG), fibronectin (FN), laminin (LN), tenascin (TN), and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) along the anterior commissure (AC) of hamster embryos (n=175; from embryonic day (E)12 to E16). Frozen sections were cut at different planes from embryonic brains between E12 and E16, treated for immunohistochemistry, and observed under epifluorescence microscopy. During the pre-crossing stage (E12-E13), CSPG was expressed as a sagittal stratum between the interhemispheric fissure and the prospective AC region. TN appeared rostral to the third ventricle and along the medial subventricular zone of the lateral ventricles. LN and FN both presented a faint expression, and GFAP was not detected. Although AC axons started crossing the midline region (E13.5-E14), CSPG, FN, LN, and, much less intensely, GFAP circumscribed the AC bundle, forming a tunnel through which AC fibers elongate. TN was no longer seen at the midplane but remained visible laterally. During the post-crossing stage (E14.5-E16), CSPG and TN were no longer seen at the midline, although both could be observed between the AC limbs, seeming to form boundaries for AC lateral growth. LN and FN were then absent near the AC bundle. During this late stage, GFAP expression became most intense, forming a distinct tunnel around the AC. We have shown that the expression of extracellular matrix molecules and GFAP follow a time- and space-regulated course related to AC development, plausibly representing influential factors for growth and guidance of commissural fibers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / chemistry
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / chemistry
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Cerebral Cortex / embryology*
  • Chondroitin Sulfate Proteoglycans / analysis
  • Corpus Callosum / chemistry
  • Corpus Callosum / cytology
  • Corpus Callosum / embryology*
  • Cricetinae / embryology*
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / analysis
  • Pregnancy
  • Tenascin / analysis


  • Chondroitin Sulfate Proteoglycans
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • Tenascin