Periventricular pathway (PVP) system of the developing human cerebrum is situated medial to the intermediate zone in the close proximity to proliferative cell compartments. In order to elucidate chemical properties and developing trajectories of the PVP we used DTI in combination with acetylcholinesterase histochemistry, SNAP-25 immunocytochemistry and axonal cytoskeletal markers (SMI312, MAP1b) immunocytochemistry on postmortem paraformaldehyde-fixed brains of 30 human fetuses ranging in age from 10 to 38 postconceptional weeks (PCW), 2 infants (age 1-3 months) and 1 adult brain. The PVP appears in the early fetal period (10-13 PCW) as two defined fibre bundles: the corpus callosum (CC) and the fetal fronto-occipital fascicle (FOF). In the midfetal period (15-18 PCW), all four components of the PVP can be identified: (1) the CC, which at rostral levels forms a voluminous callosal plate; (2) the FOF, with SNAP-25- positive fibers; (3) the fronto-pontine pathway (FPP) which for a short distance runs within the PVP; and (4) the subcallosal fascicle of Muratoff (SFM) which contains corticocaudate projections. The PVPs are situated medial to the internal capsule at the level of the cortico-striatal junction; they remain prominent during the late fetal and early preterm period (19-28 PCW) and represent a portion of the wider periventricular crossroad of growing associative, callosal and projection pathways. In the perinatal period, the PVPs change their topographical relationships, decrease in size and the FOF looses its SNAP-25-reactivity. In conclusion, the hitherto undescribed PVP of the human fetal cerebrum contains forerunners of adult associative and projection pathways. Its transient chemical properties and relative exuberance suggest that the PVP may exert influence on the development of cortical connectivity (intermediate targeting) and other neurogenetic events such as neuronal proliferation. The PVP's topographical position also indicates that it is a major site of vulnerability in hypoxic-ischaemic perinatal brain injury.
- Fronto-occipital fascicle
- Frontopontine fascicle
- Ganglionic eminence
- Human fetal cerebral white matter
- Subcallosal fascicle of Muratoff
ASJC Scopus subject areas