Eur J Pediatr Surg 2002; 12: 3-5
DOI: 10.1055/s-2002-36863
Original Article

Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttart, New York · Masson Editeur Paris

Study of the Motor Corticospinal System in the Developing Rat Fetus: Comparison of Wistar and Normal and Hydrocephalic HTx Rats

M. R. Khajeh 1 , C. M. Bannister 2 , J. A. Miyan 2
  • 1Biology Department, Kerman University, Kerman, Iran
  • 2Department of Biomolecular Science, UMIST, Manchester, UK
Weitere Informationen


Received: 10 July 2002

13. März 2003 (online)


The motor corticospinal system can be identified from day E14 in Wistar and HTx fetuses. There are no significant anatomical differences between the two species of rats. In addition, in day E17 Wistar and HTx fetuses cell counts in the cortical mantle (cortical plate, intermediate zone and germinal matrix) are similar. However, in day E20 fetuses there are significant differences in the number of cells in the cortical mantle of the hydrocephalic HTx fetuses compared to that in the Wistar and normal HTx fetuses, their total number of cells being reduced compared to that of the normal HTx and Wistars. Breakdown of the numbers of cells in the different layers shows that in the hydrocephalics there is a significant reduction in the number of cells in the germinal matrix and intermediate zone but, although the number of cells is also reduced in the cortical plate, the reduction is not significant. Measurements of the anterior/posterior width of the pyramid show that its growth is almost complete by day E17 and that on day E20 the measurements are similar in Wistar and normal and hydrocephalic HTx fetuses.

These findings suggest that it is only cells generated after day E17 that are missing from the cortex of day E20 hydrocephalic rats. It is known that the motor corticospinal tract axons arise from pyramidal cells in layers 6, 5 and 4 of the cortical plate. These layers are generated earlier than layers 3 and 2 and are almost certainly in place by day E17 and account for why motor corticospinal tract function is spared in younger animals with established hydrocephalus.


M. D. C. M. Bannister

Department of Biomolecular Sciences
University of Manchester · Institute of Science & Technology

P. O. Box 88

Sackville Street

Manchester M60 1QD