Subplate Neurons and the Patterning of Thalamocortial Connections

  1. Gregory R. Bock Organizer and
  2. Gail Cardew
  1. Anirvan Ghosh

Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470514795.ch8

Ciba Foundation Symposium 193 - Development of the Cerebral Cortex

Ciba Foundation Symposium 193 - Development of the Cerebral Cortex

How to Cite

Ghosh, A. (2007) Subplate Neurons and the Patterning of Thalamocortial Connections, in Ciba Foundation Symposium 193 - Development of the Cerebral Cortex (eds G. R. Bock and G. Cardew), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470514795.ch8

Author Information

  1. Division of Neuroscience, Enders 250, Children's Hospital and Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471957058

Online ISBN: 9780470514795



  • subplate neurons;
  • patterning;
  • thalamocortical cortex;
  • thalamus;
  • LGN axons


The patterning of the cerebral cortex into functionally distinct domains relies on the formation of appropriate connections between the thalamus and the cortex during development. To identify the mechanisms that underlie cortical target selection by thalamic axons, we have examined the role of cellular interactions in the formation of connections between the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) and the visual cortex during development of the cat visual system. The morphology of LGN axons as they grow towards the visual cortex suggests that interactions within the subplate zone may be important in the development of geniculocortical connections. The requirement for subplate neurons in this process was examined by ablating subplate neurons underlying the visual cortex at various developmental stages. When subplate cells are deleted between E38 and E42, prior to target innervation by LGN axons, these axons fail to select the visual cortex as their correct target and instead grow past it, staying restricted to the white matter. Deletion of subplate cells at later stages, between P2 and P7, does not affect target selection, but instead it prevents the segregation of LGN axons into ocular dominance columns within layer IV of the cortex. The effects of subplate neuron ablation suggest that interactions between thalamic axons and subplate cells are of critical importance in the specification of thalamocortical connections during development.