Neural tube formation in the mouse: a morphometric and computerized three-dimensional reconstruction study of the relationship between apical constriction of neuroepithelial cells and the shape of the neuroepithelium

Kevin T. Bush, Francis J. Lynch, Albert S. DeNittis, Alan B. Steinberg, Hsin yi Lee, Robert G. Nagele

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Morphornetry and computerized three-dimensional reconstruction were used to study the relationship between apical constriction of neuroepithelial cells and the pattern of bending of the neuroepithelium in the developing neural tube of the 12-somite mouse embryo. The neuroepithelium of the mouse exhibits prominent regional variations in size and shape along the embryo axis. The complex shape of most of the cephalic neural tube (e.g., forebrain and midbrain) is due to the coexistence of concave and convex bending sites whereas more caudal regions (e.g., hindbrain and spinal cord) generally lack sites of convex bending and have a relatively simple shape. The apical morphology of neuroepithelial cells was found to be correlated more closely with the local status of bending of the neuroepithelium than with the specific region of the neural tube in which they are located. In areas of enhanced apical constriction, microfilament bundles were particularly prominent. Morphornetry revealed that patterns of bending of the neuroepithelium were correlated almost exactly with those of apical constriction throughout the forming neural tube. These findings support the idea that apical constriction of neuroepithelial cells, resulting from tension generated by microfilament bundles, plays a major role in bending of the neuroepithelium during neural tube formation in the mouse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-58
Number of pages10
JournalAnatomy and Embryology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Embryology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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