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Anatomy and Embryology

, Volume 156, Issue 1, pp 73–88 | Cite as

Ultrastructural observations on closure of the neural tube in the mouse

  • Jan A. G. Geelen
  • Jan Langman
Article

Summary

The fusion of the neural walls in the cephalic part of mouse embryos varying in age from 9 to 20 somites was examined with the electron microscope. In the rhombencephalic region the rim of the neural wall was formed from outside inward by ectodermal surface cells, a row of flattened cells without surface projections and neuroepithelial cells. At the junction of the surface ectoderm and the flat cells were seen large projections containing a cytoplasmic matrix without organelles and previously referred to as “ruffles”. The initial contact between the walls was made by the large cytoplasmic arms and numerous finger-like projections interdigitating with similar projections from the opposite wall. The projections originated from the surface ectoderm and possibly neural crest cells. During further fusion the surface ectoderm cells formed dense membrane specializations, thus establishing a firm contact.

The initial contact in the mesencephalon was formed by extensions from the surface ectoderm and was followed by the formation of specialized membrane junctions, as seen between the surface ectoderm in the rhombencephalon. The neuroepithelial cells facing the gap between the neural walls with their apical ends made contact with the cells from the opposing wall by numerous finger-like projections but membrane specializations failed to develop.

The closing mechanism in the prosencephalon and anterior neuropore regions differed from the previous areas in that the initial contact was established by the neuroepithelial cells. Only after this contact had been formed did the surface ectoderm cells close the gap. In contrast with the other areas many phagocytosed particles were seen in the prosencephalon and in the region of the anterior neuropore. Many particles from degenerated cells were found inside healthy surrounding cells. Some of these particles contained nuclear material and cytoplasmic organelles.

Key words

Closure Development Mammalina embryo Neural tube Ultrastructure 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan A. G. Geelen
    • 1
  • Jan Langman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnatomyUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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