Neural - Basal Ganglia Development

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Stage10 sem6.jpg


Neural groove closing to neural tube, early week 4
(Stage 10)

The basal ganglia are a group of central nervous system nuclei linked to the thalamus in the base of the brain and involved in coordination of movement. In the adult brain input from the motor cortex to the basal ganglia comes through the striatum (neostriatum), that consists of the caudate and putamen.

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

Some Recent Findings

  • The Basal Ganglia Over 500 Million Years[1] "The lamprey belongs to the phylogenetically oldest group of vertebrates that diverged from the mammalian evolutionary line 560 million years ago. A comparison between the lamprey and mammalian basal ganglia establishes a detailed similarity regarding its input from cortex/pallium and thalamus, as well as its intrinsic organisation and projections of the output nuclei. This means that the basal ganglia circuits now present in rodents and primates most likely had evolved already at the dawn of vertebrate evolution. This includes the 'direct pathway' with striatal projection neurons (SPNs) expressing dopamine D1 receptors, which act to inhibit the tonically active GABAergic output neurons in globus pallidus interna and substantia nigra pars reticulata that at rest keep the brainstem motor centres under tonic inhibition. The 'indirect pathway' with dopamine D2 receptor-expressing SPNs and intrinsic basal ganglia nuclei is also conserved. The net effect of the direct pathway is to disinhibit brainstem motor centres and release motor programs, while the indirect pathway instead will suppress motor activity. Transmitters, connectivity and membrane properties are virtually identical in lamprey and rodent basal ganglia. We predict that the basal ganglia contains a series of modules each controlling a given pattern of behaviour including locomotion, eye-movements, posture, and chewing that contain both the direct pathway to release a motor program and the indirect pathway to inhibit competing behaviours. The phasic dopamine input serves value-based decisions and motor learning. During vertebrate evolution with a progressively more diverse motor behaviour, the number of modules will have increased progressively. These new modules with a similar design will be used to control newly developed patterns of behaviour - a process referred to as exaptation."
  • Dynamic imaging of mammalian neural tube closure[2]
More recent papers  
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This table allows an automated computer search of the external PubMed database using the listed "Search term" text link.

  • This search now requires a manual link as the original PubMed extension has been disabled.
  • The displayed list of references do not reflect any editorial selection of material based on content or relevance.
  • References also appear on 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.

More? References | Discussion Page | Journal Searches | 2019 References | 2020 References

Search term: Basal Ganglia Development | Basal Ganglia Embryology

Older papers  
These papers originally appeared in the Some Recent Findings table, but as that list grew in length have now been shuffled down to this collapsible table.

See also the Discussion Page for other references listed by year and References on this current page.

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

prosencephalon (forebrain) telencephalon Rhinencephalon, Amygdala, hippocampus, cerebrum (cortex), hypothalamus‎, pituitary | Basal Ganglia, lateral ventricles
diencephalon epithalamus, thalamus, Subthalamus, pineal, posterior commissure, pretectum, third ventricle
mesencephalon (midbrain) mesencephalon tectum, Cerebral peduncle, cerebral aqueduct, pons
rhombencephalon (hindbrain) metencephalon cerebellum
myelencephalon medulla oblongata, isthmus
spinal cord, pyramidal decussation, central canal

Early Brain Vesicles

Primary Vesicles

CNS primary vesicles.jpg

Secondary Vesicles

CNS secondary vesicles.jpg


Basal ganglia frontal lobe connectivities for motor cognitive interaction[3]
Basal ganglia and frontal lobe 1.jpg All regions of the cerebral cortex project to the basal ganglia, but the output of the basal ganglia are directed toward the frontal lobe, particularly the premotor and supplementary motor cortex with specific connectivities of the basal ganglia for (A) attention, working memory, and executive function (B) conditioned fear memory and (C) cerebellar and basal ganglia modulation of cognition.

(text from figure legend)


  1. Grillner S & Robertson B. (2016). The Basal Ganglia Over 500 Million Years. Curr. Biol. , 26, R1088-R1100. PMID: 27780050 DOI.
  2. Pyrgaki C, Trainor P, Hadjantonakis AK & Niswander L. (2010). Dynamic imaging of mammalian neural tube closure. Dev. Biol. , 344, 941-7. PMID: 20558153 DOI.
  3. Leisman G, Braun-Benjamin O & Melillo R. (2014). Cognitive-motor interactions of the basal ganglia in development. Front Syst Neurosci , 8, 16. PMID: 24592214 DOI.


Grillner S, von Twickel A & Robertson B. (2018). The blueprint of the vertebrate forebrain - With special reference to the habenulae. Semin. Cell Dev. Biol. , 78, 103-106. PMID: 29107476 DOI.

Greene ND & Copp AJ. (2009). Development of the vertebrate central nervous system: formation of the neural tube. Prenat. Diagn. , 29, 303-11. PMID: 19206138 DOI.

Moreno N, González A & Rétaux S. (2009). Development and evolution of the subpallium. Semin. Cell Dev. Biol. , 20, 735-43. PMID: 19374952 DOI.

Mazurová Y, Rudolf E, Látr I & Osterreicher J. (2006). Proliferation and differentiation of adult endogenous neural stem cells in response to neurodegenerative process within the striatum. Neurodegener Dis , 3, 12-8. PMID: 16909031 DOI.

Ulfig N, Setzer M & Bohl J. (2003). Ontogeny of the human amygdala. Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. , 985, 22-33. PMID: 12724145

Hamasaki T, Goto S, Nishikawa S & Ushio Y. (2003). Neuronal cell migration for the developmental formation of the mammalian striatum. Brain Res. Brain Res. Rev. , 41, 1-12. PMID: 12505644

Ulfig N. (2002). Ganglionic eminence of the human fetal brain--new vistas. Anat. Rec. , 267, 191-5. PMID: 12115267 DOI.

Jain M, Armstrong RJ, Barker RA & Rosser AE. (2001). Cellular and molecular aspects of striatal development. Brain Res. Bull. , 55, 533-40. PMID: 11543954


Milardi D, Quartarone A, Bramanti A, Anastasi G, Bertino S, Basile GA, Buonasera P, Pilone G, Celeste G, Rizzo G, Bruschetta D & Cacciola A. (2019). The Cortico-Basal Ganglia-Cerebellar Network: Past, Present and Future Perspectives. Front Syst Neurosci , 13, 61. PMID: 31736719 DOI.

Saitsu H & Shiota K. (2008). Involvement of the axially condensed tail bud mesenchyme in normal and abnormal human posterior neural tube development. Congenit Anom (Kyoto) , 48, 1-6. PMID: 18230116 DOI.

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Search Pubmed: Basal Ganglia Embryology | Basal Ganglia Development

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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, June 16) Embryology Neural - Basal Ganglia Development. Retrieved from

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