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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Organization of human hypothalamus in fetal development.

The organization of the human hypothalamus was studied in 33 brains aged from 9 weeks of gestation (w.g.) to newborn, using immunohistochemistry for parvalbumin, calbindin, calretinin, neuropeptide Y, neurophysin, growth-associated protein (GAP)-43, synaptophysin, and the glycoconjugate 3-fucosyl- N-acetyl-lactosamine. Developmental stages are described in relation to obstetric trimesters. The first trimester (morphogenetic periods 9-10 w.g. and 11-14 w.g.) is characterized by differentiating structures of the lateral hypothalamic zone, which give rise to the lateral hypothalamus (LH) and posterior hypothalamus. The PeF differentiates at 18 w.g. from LH neurons, which remain anchored in the perifornical position, whereas most of the LH cells are displaced laterally. A transient supramamillary nucleus was apparent at 14 w.g. but not after 16 w.g. As the ventromedial nucleus differentiated at 13-16 w.g., three principal parts, the ventrolateral part, the dorsomedial part, and the shell, were revealed by distribution of calbindin, calretinin, and GAP43 immunoreactivity. The second trimester (morphogenetic periods 15-17 w.g., 18-23 w.g., and 24-33 w.g.) is characterized by differentiation of the hypothalamic core, in which calbindin- positive neurons revealed the medial preoptic nucleus at 16 w.g. abutted laterally by the intermediate nucleus. The dorsomedial nucleus was clearly defined at 10 w.g. and consisted of compact and diffuse parts, an organization that was lost after 15 w.g. Differentiation of the medial mamillary body into lateral and medial was seen at 13-16 w.g. Late second trimester was marked by differentiation of periventricular zone structures, including suprachiasmatic, arcuate, and paraventricular nuclei. The subnuclear differentiation of these nuclei extends into the third trimester. The use of chemoarchitecture in the human fetus permitted the identification of interspecies nuclei homologies, which otherwise remain concealed in the cytoarchitecture.[1]


  1. Organization of human hypothalamus in fetal development. Koutcherov, Y., Mai, J.K., Ashwell, K.W., Paxinos, G. J. Comp. Neurol. (2002) [Pubmed]
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