Neural - Telencephalon 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: Introduction | Ventricular System | Stage 22 | Gliogenesis | Fetal | Medicine Lecture - Neural | Lecture - Ectoderm | Lecture - Neural Crest | Lab - Early Neural | Neural Crest | Sensory | Abnormalities | Folic Acid | Iodine Deficiency | Fetal Alcohol Syndrome | Postnatal | Postnatal - Neural Examination | Histology | Historic Neural | Category:Neural
Neural Parts: Introduction | Prosencephalon | Telencephalon | Amygdala | Hippocampus | Basal Ganglia | lateral ventricles | Diencephalon | Epithalamus | Thalamus | Hypothalamus | Pituitary | Pineal | third ventricle | Mesencephalon | Mesencephalon | Tectum | cerebral aqueduct | Rhombencephalon | Metencephalon | Pons | Cerebellum | Myelencephalon | Medulla Oblongata | Spinal Cord | Vascular | Meninges | Category:Neural

Some Recent Findings

  • The Mammalian DM Domain Transcription Factor Dmrta2 Is Required for Early Embryonic Development of the Cerebral Cortex[1] "Development of the mammalian telencephalon is precisely organized by a combination of extracellular signaling events derived from signaling centers and transcription factor networks. Using gene expression profiling of the developing mouse dorsal telencephalon, we found that the DM domain transcription factor Dmrta2 (doublesex and mab-3-related transcription factor a2) is involved in the development of the dorsal telencephalon."
  • The transcription factor Foxg1 regulates telencephalic progenitor proliferation[2] "The transcription factor Foxg1 is an important regulator of telencephalic cell cycles. Its inactivation causes premature lengthening of telencephalic progenitor cell cycles and increased neurogenic divisions, leading to severe hypoplasia of the telencephalon. ....We conclude that Foxg1 exerts control over telencephalic progenitor proliferation by cell autonomous mechanisms that include the regulation of Pax6, which itself is known to regulate proliferation cell autonomously in a regional manner."
  • Populations of subplate and interstitial neurons in fetal and adult human telencephalon[3] "In the adult human telencephalon, subcortical (gyral) white matter contains a special population of interstitial neurons considered to be surviving descendants of fetal subplate neurons [Kostovic & Rakic (1980) Cytology and the time of origin of interstitial neurons in the white matter in infant and adult human and monkey telencephalon. J Neurocytol9, 219]. We designate this population of cells as superficial (gyral) interstitial neurons and describe their morphology and distribution in the postnatal and adult human cerebrum. Human fetal subplate neurons cannot be regarded as interstitial, because the subplate zone is an essential part of the fetal cortex, the major site of synaptogenesis and the 'waiting' compartment for growing cortical afferents, and contains both projection neurons and interneurons with distinct input-output connectivity. However, although the subplate zone is a transient fetal structure, many subplate neurons survive postnatally as superficial (gyral) interstitial neurons. The fetal white matter is represented by the intermediate zone and well-defined deep periventricular tracts of growing axons, such as the corpus callosum, anterior commissure, internal and external capsule, and the fountainhead of the corona radiata."
  • Ephrins guide migrating cortical interneurons in the basal telencephalon[4] "Cortical interneurons are born in the proliferative zones of the ganglionic eminences in the subpallium and migrate to the developing cortex along well-defined tangential routes. The mechanisms regulating interneuron migration are not completely understood. ... Together, these results suggest that ephrin-A3 acts as a repulsive cue that restricts cortical interneurons from entering inappropriate regions and thus contributes to define the migratory route of cortical interneurons."
  • FoxG1 and TLE2 act cooperatively to regulate ventral telencephalon formation[5] "FoxG1 is a conserved transcriptional repressor that plays a key role in the specification, proliferation and differentiation of the telencephalon, and is expressed from the earliest stages of telencephalic development through to the adult. ...Knocking down either FoxG1 or TLE2 disrupts the development of the ventral telencephalon, supporting the idea that endogenous TLE2 and FoxG1 work together to specify the ventral telencephalon."
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: Telencephalon Embryology

Dragica Selakovic, Jovana Joksimovic, Ivan Zaletel, Nela Puskas, Milovan Matovic, Gvozden Rosic The opposite effects of nandrolone decanoate and exercise on anxiety levels in rats may involve alterations in hippocampal parvalbumin-positive interneurons. PLoS ONE: 2017, 12(12);e0189595 PubMed 29232412

Istvan Adorjan, Bashir Ahmed, Virginia Feher, Mario Torso, Kristine Krug, Margaret Esiri, Steven A Chance, Francis G Szele Calretinin interneuron density in the caudate nucleus is lower in autism spectrum disorder. Brain: 2017, 140(7);2028-2040 PubMed 29177493

Chrystelle Aillaud, Christophe Bosc, Leticia Peris, Anouk Bosson, Pierre Heemeryck, Juliette Van Dijk, Julien Le Friec, Benoit Boulan, Frédérique Vossier, Laura E Sanman, Salahuddin Syed, Neri Amara, Yohann Couté, Laurence Lafanechère, Eric Denarier, Christian Delphin, Laurent Pelletier, Sandrine Humbert, Matthew Bogyo, Annie Andrieux, Krzysztof Rogowski, Marie-Jo Moutin Vasohibins/SVBP are tubulin carboxypeptidases (TCPs) that regulate neuron differentiation. Science: 2017, 358(6369);1448-1453 PubMed 29146868

V Cunha, P Rodrigues, M M Santos, P Moradas-Ferreira, M Ferreira Fluoxetine modulates the transcription of genes involved in serotonin, dopamine and adrenergic signalling in zebrafish embryos. Chemosphere: 2017, 191;954-961 PubMed 29145140

Andre M Goffinet The evolution of cortical development: the synapsid-diapsid divergence. Development: 2017, 144(22);4061-4077 PubMed 29138289

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

Adult Cerebral Cortex

Each lobe below is further divided into regions.

  • Frontal lobe
  • Parietal lobe
  • Occipital lobe
  • Temporal lobe
  • Limbic lobe
  • Insular cortex
  • Interlobar sulci/fissures

Early Brain Vesicles

Primary Vesicles

CNS primary vesicles.jpg

Secondary Vesicles

CNS secondary vesicles.jpg

Insular Cortex

(insula, insulary cortex, insular lobe) Region from the telencephalon forming part of the cerebral cortex located deep within the lateral fissure (Sylvian fissure) between the temporal lobe and the frontal lobe. Adult roles in consciousness, emotion, sensory and homeostasis, see review.[6]

  • less than 2% of total cortical surface area
  • receives afferents from some sensory thalamic nuclei
  • connected with amygdala and many limbic and association cortical areas

Historical Background  
  • 1928 Rose[7]
  • 1940 Brockhaus</ref>Brockhaus H. Die Cyto- und Myeloarchitektonik des Cortex claustralis und des Claustrum beim Menschen. (1940) Journal fuer Psychologie und Neurologie, 49:249–348.</ref>
  • 1985 Mesulam and Mufson[8]

Molecular Development

Regulatory Networks

Telencephalon gene regulatory network.jpg

Algorithm-based gene regulatory network structure for dorsal and ventral telencephalon development.[9]

To highlight the key regulators, the nodes representing genes predicted to be the parent of at least nine other genes are largest in size (Sox9, Mef2a, Elavl4 and Pou6f1), whereas those that are predicted to regulate at least five other genes are medium in size (Ngn2, Centg3, Tef, Tcf4, Wnt7b, Pou2f1, Yy1, Dll1, E2f1, Arx, and Creb).

Netrin-1 Signaling

Telencephalon- Netrin-1 signaling thalamocortical projections.jpg Model of the Role of Netrin-1 Signaling in the Topography of Thalamocortical Projections in the Ventral Telencephalon[10]

Models summarizing previous[11] and above reference[10] findings regarding the axon guidance cues controlling the topographic sorting of thalamocortical axons in the ventral telencephalon.

Links: OMIM - NETRIN 1 | Mouse Development


  1. Daijiro Konno, Misato Iwashita, Yoshiaki Satoh, Asuka Momiyama, Takaya Abe, Hiroshi Kiyonari, Fumio Matsuzaki The mammalian DM domain transcription factor Dmrta2 is required for early embryonic development of the cerebral cortex. PLoS ONE: 2012, 7(10);e46577 PubMed 23056351 | Plos One.
  2. | 21418559
  3. PMID20979586
  4. Judith Rudolph, Geraldine Zimmer, André Steinecke, Sandra Barchmann, Jürgen Bolz Ephrins guide migrating cortical interneurons in the basal telencephalon. Cell Adh Migr: 2010, 4(3);400-8 PubMed 20473036
  5. Martin Roth, Boyan Bonev, Jennefer Lindsay, Robert Lea, Niki Panagiotaki, Corinne Houart, Nancy Papalopulu FoxG1 and TLE2 act cooperatively to regulate ventral telencephalon formation. Development: 2010, 137(9);1553-62 PubMed 20356955
  6. Rudolf Nieuwenhuys The insular cortex: a review. Prog. Brain Res.: 2012, 195;123-63 PubMed 22230626
  7. Rose M. Die Inselrinde des Menschen und der Tiere. (1928) Journal fuer Psychologie und Neurologie, 37: 467–624
  8. Mesulam MM. and Mufson EJ. The insula of Reil in man and monkey. (1985) A. Peters, E.G. Jones (Eds.), Association and auditory cortices, Plenum, New York, pp. 179–226
  9. Julia M Gohlke, Olivier Armant, Frederick M Parham, Marjolein V Smith, Celine Zimmer, Diogo S Castro, Laurent Nguyen, Joel S Parker, Gerard Gradwohl, Christopher J Portier, François Guillemot Characterization of the proneural gene regulatory network during mouse telencephalon development. BMC Biol.: 2008, 6;15 PubMed 18377642 | BMC Biol.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Ashton W Powell, Takayuki Sassa, Yongqin Wu, Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Franck Polleux Topography of thalamic projections requires attractive and repulsive functions of Netrin-1 in the ventral telencephalon. PLoS Biol.: 2008, 6(5);e116 PubMed 18479186 | PMC2584572 | PLoS Biol.
  11. Audrey Dufour, Julie Seibt, Lara Passante, Vanessa Depaepe, Thomas Ciossek, Jonas Frisén, Klas Kullander, John G Flanagan, Franck Polleux, Pierre Vanderhaeghen Area specificity and topography of thalamocortical projections are controlled by ephrin/Eph genes. Neuron: 2003, 39(3);453-65 PubMed 12895420


Tadashi Nomura, Mitsuharu Hattori, Noriko Osumi Reelin, radial fibers and cortical evolution: insights from comparative analysis of the mammalian and avian telencephalon. Dev. Growth Differ.: 2009, 51(3);287-97 PubMed 19210541

Jean M Hébert, Gord Fishell The genetics of early telencephalon patterning: some assembly required. Nat. Rev. Neurosci.: 2008, 9(9);678-85 PubMed 19143049


Weiying Yu, Yiwei Wang, Kristen McDonnell, Daniel Stephen, C Brian Bai Patterning of ventral telencephalon requires positive function of Gli transcription factors. Dev. Biol.: 2009, 334(1);264-75 PubMed 19632216

Alexandra A Gulacsi, Stewart A Anderson Beta-catenin-mediated Wnt signaling regulates neurogenesis in the ventral telencephalon. Nat. Neurosci.: 2008, 11(12);1383-91 PubMed 18997789

Brian G Rash, Elizabeth A Grove Patterning the dorsal telencephalon: a role for sonic hedgehog? J. Neurosci.: 2007, 27(43);11595-603 PubMed 17959802

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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2018, February 20) Embryology Neural - Telencephalon Development. Retrieved from

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