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Immunohistochemical markers of neural progenitor cells in the early embryonic human cerebral cortex

L. Vinci, A. Ravarino, V. Fanos, A.G. Naccarato, G. Senes, C. Gerosa, G. Bevilacqua, G. Faa, R. Ambu
  • A. Ravarino
    University of Cagliari, Italy
  • V. Fanos
    University of Cagliari, Italy
  • A.G. Naccarato
    Pisa University Hospital, Italy
  • G. Senes
    University of Cagliari, Italy
  • C. Gerosa
    University of Cagliari, Italy
  • G. Bevilacqua
    Pisa University Hospital, Italy
  • G. Faa
    University of Cagliari, Italy
  • R. Ambu
    University of Cagliari, Italy


The development of the human central nervous system represents a delicate moment of embryogenesis. The purpose of this study was to analyze the expression of multiple immunohistochemical markers in the stem/progenitor cells in the human cerebral cortex during the early phases of development.  To this end, samples from cerebral cortex were obtained from 4 human embryos of 11 weeks of gestation. Each sample was formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded and immunostained with several markers including GFAP, WT1, Nestin, Vimentin, CD117, S100B, Sox2, PAX2, PAX5, Tβ4, Neurofilament, CD44, CD133, Synaptophysin and Cyclin D1. Our study shows the ability of the different immunohistochemical markers to evidence different zones of the developing human cerebral cortex, allowing the identification of the multiple stages of differentiation of neuronal and glial precursors. Three important markers of radial glial cells are evidenced in this early gestational age: Vimentin, Nestin and WT1. Sox2 was expressed by the stem/progenitor cells of the ventricular zone, whereas the postmitotic neurons of the cortical plate were immunostained by PAX2 and NSE. Future studies are needed to test other important stem/progenitor cells markers and to better analyze differences in the immunohistochemical expression of these markers during gestation.


Cerebral cortex; human embryo; human development; immunohistochemistry; fetal stem cells.

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Submitted: 2015-08-23 21:34:35
Published: 2016-02-01 13:39:47
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Copyright (c) 2016 L. Vinci, A. Ravarino, V. Fanos, A.G. Naccarato, G. Senes, C. Gerosa, G. Bevilacqua, G. Faa, R. Ambu

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