Development of the abducens nuclei in the Xenopus laevis

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The development of the main (nVI) and the accessory abducens (nVIa) nuclei was studied with the horseradish peroxidase and cobaltic-lysine labeling techniques in Xenopus laevis tadpoles. In earliest labeling was obtained at stage 39, and neuroblasts of both nuclei formed two separate groups according to their definitive positions in relation to other rhombencephalic structures in this young age of development. Conspicuous morphological differences were observed between the two nuclei: the accessory abducens neuroblasts were twice as big as the abducens neuroblasts and the characteristic nVIa 'knee' was present from this time of the first successful labeling. The two different dendritic arborization patterns, which clearly distinguished the abducens neurons from the accessory abducens neurons, gradually developed in tadpoles. It is suggested that the form and position of abducens and accessory abducens neurons are determined at a prefunctional stage, probably before the beginning of axonal outgrowth, and neurobiotaxis may not play the role attributed previously in the differentiation of these two nuclei.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-184
Number of pages6
JournalDevelopmental Brain Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 1990


  • Abducens nucleus
  • Brainstem
  • Cobalt labeling
  • Horseradish peroxidase labeling
  • Neurobiotaxis
  • Tadpole

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology

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