Cadherin expression by embryonic divisions and derived gray matter structures in the telencephalon of the chicken



The expression of three cadherins (cadherin-6B, cadherin-7, and R-cadherin) was studied by immunohistochemistry in the telencephalon of chicken embryos at intermediate stages of development (11 and 15 days of incubation). Expression patterns were related to cytoarchitecture and to previously published data on functional connections and on the expression of gene regulatory proteins. Our results indicate that, like in other regions of the embryonic chicken brain, the expression of each cadherin is restricted to parts of embryonic divisions as well as to particular nuclei, areas or their subdivisions. The expression patterns are largely complementary with partial overlap. The regional expression of the cadherins respects the boundary between the pallium and the subpallium as well as between various pallial and subpallial subdivisions. Novel subdivisions were found in several telencephalic areas. For example, subjacent to the hyperstriatum, the neostriatum contains multiple islands of cells with a profile of cadherin expression that differs from the surrounding matrix (“island fields”). Moreover, the expression of each cadherin is apparently associated with parts of intratelencephalic neural circuits and of thalamopallial and basal ganglia pathways. These results support a role for cadherins in the aggregation and differentiation of gray matter structures within embryonic brain divisions. The cadherin immunostaining patterns are interpreted in the context of a recently proposed divisional scheme of the avian pallium that postulates medial, dorsal, lateral, and ventral divisions as complete radial histogenetic units (Puelles et al. [2000]). J. Comp. Neurol. 438:253–285, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.