The chicken trigeminal ganglion II. Fine structure of the neurons during development,


  • Geraldine C. Gaik,

    1. Department of Anatomy, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois 60611
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of Anatomy, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261
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    • Recipient of a National Institutes of Health Predoctoral Research Fellowship, F01 GM38520-01A1.

  • Albert I. Farbman

    1. Department of Anatomy, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois 60611
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  • This study was part of a dissertation presented to Northwestern University in partial fulfillment for the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

  • Supported in part by National Institutes of Health grant NS06181.


A morphological study of the developing chick trigeminal ganglion was done. For descriptive convenience, four stages of development have been defined: Phase I (2 to 4 days of incubation) — Both the neural crest and epidermal placode contribute to the forming trigeminal ganglion, which is comprised of clusters of undifferentiated cells and primitive neuroblasts. Toward the end of this phase, satellite cells and unmyelinated nerve fibers are seen. Phase II (5 to 10 days of incubation) — In the lateral portion of the ganglion, large differentiating neuroblasts and young bipolar and pseudounipolar neurons were present. The latter were characterized by a large, eccentrically located nucleus at one pole, a long axonal process at the opposite pole, and a clear centrosphere region between the two. In the medial region of the ganglion, most of the neurons were smaller and more closely packed together. Phase III (11 to 17 days of incubation) — The ganglion was constituted of bipolar and pseudounipolar cells with an apparently random distribution of small and large neurons. Nissl bodies appeared in developing neurons. Phase IV (18 days of incubation to 3 weeks post-hatching) — Light and dark neurons first made their appearance. Dark neurons were characterized by (1) clear perinuclear cytoplasm containing a Golgi apparatus, vesicles and mitochondria and (2) a peripheral cytoplasm of densely packed stacks of Nissl substance. Light neurons contained individual clumps of Nissl substance distributed in a pale cytoplasmic matrix.