Neural Tube - Structure

Structure

There are four subdivisions of the neural tube that will each eventually develop into distinct regions of the central nervous system by the division of neuroepithelial cells: The prosencephalon, the mesencephalon, the rhombencephalon and the spinal cord.

  • The prosencephalon further goes on to develop into the telencephalon (the forebrain or cerebrum) and the diencephalon (the optic vesicles and hypothalamus).
  • The mesencephalon develops into the midbrain.
  • The rhombencephalon develops into the metencephalon (the pons and cerebellum) and the myelencephalon (the medulla oblongata).

For a short time, the neural tube is open both cranially and caudally. These openings, called neuropores, close during the fourth week in the human. Improper closure of the neuropores can result in neural tube defects such as anencephaly or spina bifida.

The dorsal part of the neural tube contains the alar plate, which is primarily associated with sensation. The ventral part of the neural tube contains the basal plate, which is primarily associated with motor (i.e., muscle) control.

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