Neural - Prosencephalon Development

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Neural development is one of the earliest systems to begin and the last to be completed after birth. This development generates the most complex structure within the embryo and the long time period of development means in utero insult during pregnancy may have consequences to development of the nervous system.

The early central nervous system begins as a simple neural plate that folds to form a groove then tube, open initially at each end. Failure of these opening to close contributes a major class of neural abnormalities (neural tube defects).

Within the neural tube stem cells generate the 2 major classes of cells that make the majority of the nervous system : neurons and glia. Both these classes of cells differentiate into many different types generated with highly specialized functions and shapes. This section covers the establishment of neural populations, the inductive influences of surrounding tissues and the sequential generation of neurons establishing the layered structure seen in the brain and spinal cord.

  • Neural development beginnings quite early, therefore also look at notes covering Week 3- neural tube and Week 4-early nervous system.
  • Development of the neural crest and sensory systems (hearing/vision/smell) are only introduced in these notes and are covered in other notes sections.

Neural Links: neural | ventricular | ectoderm | Stage 22 | gliogenesis | neural fetal | Medicine Lecture - Neural | Lecture - Ectoderm | Lecture - Neural Crest | Lab - Early Neural | neural crest | Sensory | neural abnormalities | folic acid | iodine deficiency | Fetal Alcohol Syndrome | Postnatal | Postnatal - Neural Examination | Histology | Historic Neural | Category:Neural
Neural Parts: neural | prosencephalon | telencephalon cerebrum | amygdala | hippocampus | basal ganglia | lateral ventricles | diencephalon | Epithalamus | thalamus | hypothalamus‎ | pituitary | pineal | third ventricle | mesencephalon | tectum | cerebral aqueduct | rhombencephalon | metencephalon | pons | cerebellum | myelencephalon | medulla oblongata | spinal cord | neural vascular | meninges | Category:Neural

Some Recent Findings

Developing mouse forebrain Robo3 expression[1]
  • Development of laminar organization of the fetal cerebrum[2] "Heads of 131 fetal specimens of 14-40 weeks gestational age (GA) were scanned by 3.0T MRI. Eleven fetal specimens of 14-27 weeks GA were scanned by 7.0T MRI. On T(1)-weighted 3.0T MRI, layers could be visualized at 14 weeks GA and appeared clearer after 18 weeks GA. On 7.0T MRI, four zones could be recognized at 14 weeks GA. During 15-22 weeks GA, when laminar organization appeared typical, seven layers including the periventricular zone and external capsule fibers could be differentiated, which corresponded to seven zones in histological stained sections. At 23-28 weeks GA, laminar organization appeared less typical, and borderlines among them appeared obscured. After 30 weeks GA, it disappeared and turned into mature-like structures. The developing lamination appeared the most distinguishable at the parieto-occipital part of brain and peripheral regions of the hippocampus. The migrating thalamocortical afferents were probably delineated as a high signal layer located at the lower, middle, and upper part of the subplate zone at 16-28 weeks GA on T(1)-weighted 3.0T MRI."
More recent papers
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This table shows an automated computer PubMed search using the listed sub-heading term.

  • Therefore the list of references do not reflect any editorial selection of material based on content or relevance.
  • References appear in this list based upon the date of the actual page viewing.

References listed on the rest of the content page and the associated discussion page (listed under the publication year sub-headings) do include some editorial selection based upon both relevance and availability.

Links: References | Discussion Page | Pubmed Most Recent | Journal Searches

Search term: Prosencephalon Embryology

Development Overview

Neuralation begins at the trilaminar embryo with formation of the notochord and somites, both of which underly the ectoderm and do not contribute to the nervous system, but are involved with patterning its initial formation. The central portion of the ectoderm then forms the neural plate that folds to form the neural tube, that will eventually form the entire central nervous system.

Early developmental sequence: Epiblast - Ectoderm - Neural Plate - Neural groove and Neural Crest - Neural Tube and Neural Crest

Neural Tube Primary Vesicles Secondary Vesicles Adult Structures
week 3 week 4 week 5 adult
neural plate
neural groove
neural tube

Prosencephalon Telencephalon Rhinencephalon, Amygdala, Hippocampus, Cerebrum (Cortex), Hypothalamus, Pituitary | Basal Ganglia, lateral ventricles
Diencephalon Epithalamus, Thalamus, Subthalamus, Pineal, third ventricle
Mesencephalon Mesencephalon Tectum, Cerebral peduncle, Pretectum, cerebral aqueduct
Rhombencephalon Metencephalon Pons, Cerebellum
Myelencephalon Medulla Oblongata
Spinal Cord

Primary Vesicles

Brain primary vesicle development (Carnegie stage 13)

CNS primary vesicles.jpg

Additional Images


Human Embryology And Morphology (1921)
Keith, A. Human Embryology And Morphology (1921) Longmans, Green & Co.:New York.

9 Fore-Brain and 10 Fore-Brain Cerebral Vesicles


  1. Melissa Barber, Thomas Di Meglio, William D Andrews, Luis R Hernández-Miranda, Fujio Murakami, Alain Chédotal, John G Parnavelas The role of Robo3 in the development of cortical interneurons. Cereb. Cortex: 2009, 19 Suppl 1;i22-31 PubMed 19366869 | Cereb Cortex.


Nicolas Bertrand, Nadia Dahmane Sonic hedgehog signaling in forebrain development and its interactions with pathways that modify its effects. Trends Cell Biol.: 2006, 16(11);597-605 PubMed 17030124

Muriel Rhinn, Alexander Picker, Michael Brand Global and local mechanisms of forebrain and midbrain patterning. Curr. Opin. Neurobiol.: 2006, 16(1);5-12 PubMed 16418000

Oscar Marín, John L R Rubenstein Cell migration in the forebrain. Annu. Rev. Neurosci.: 2003, 26;441-83 PubMed 12626695

Murielle Rallu, Joshua G Corbin, Gord Fishell Parsing the prosencephalon. Nat. Rev. Neurosci.: 2002, 3(12);943-51 PubMed 12461551


Matías Hidalgo-Sánchez, Rosa-Magda Alvarado-Mallart Temporal sequence of gene expression leading caudal prosencephalon to develop a midbrain/hindbrain phenotype. Dev. Dyn.: 2002, 223(1);141-7 PubMed 11803577

P H Crossley, S Martinez, Y Ohkubo, J L Rubenstein Coordinate expression of Fgf8, Otx2, Bmp4, and Shh in the rostral prosencephalon during development of the telencephalic and optic vesicles. Neuroscience: 2001, 108(2);183-206 PubMed 11734354

N Ulfig, F Neudörfer, J Bohl Distribution patterns of vimentin-immunoreactive structures in the human prosencephalon during the second half of gestation. J. Anat.: 1999, 195 ( Pt 1);87-100 PubMed 10473296

M Hidalgo-Sánchez, A Simeone, R M Alvarado-Mallart Fgf8 and Gbx2 induction concomitant with Otx2 repression is correlated with midbrain-hindbrain fate of caudal prosencephalon. Development: 1999, 126(14);3191-203 PubMed 10375509

L Sztriha, E Várady, J Hertecant, M Nork Mediobasal and mantle defect of the prosencephalon: lobar holoprosencephaly, schizencephaly and diabetes insipidus. Neuropediatrics: 1998, 29(5);272-5 PubMed 9810564

H Nakamura, K A Matsui, S Takagi, H Fujisawa Projection of the retinal ganglion cells to the tectum differentiated from the prosencephalon. Neurosci. Res.: 1991, 11(3);189-97 PubMed 1661870

G F Couly, N M Le Douarin Mapping of the early neural primordium in quail-chick chimeras. I. Developmental relationships between placodes, facial ectoderm, and prosencephalon. Dev. Biol.: 1985, 110(2);422-39 PubMed 4018406

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Search Pubmed: Prosencephalon Embryology | Prosencephalon Development |

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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2018, December 11) Embryology Neural - Prosencephalon Development. Retrieved from

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