Periventricular microglial cells interact with dividing precursor cells in the nonhuman primate and rodent prenatal cerebral cortex

Stephen C. Noctor, Elisa Penna, Hunter Shepherd, Christian Chelson, Nicole Barger, Verónica Martínez-Cerdeño, Alice F. Tarantal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Cortical proliferative zones have been studied for over 100 years, yet recent data have revealed that microglial cells constitute a sizeable proportion of ventricular zone cells during late stages of cortical neurogenesis. Microglia begin colonizing the forebrain after neural tube closure and during later stages of neurogenesis populate regions of the developing cortex that include the proliferative zones. We previously showed that microglia regulate the production of cortical cells by phagocytosing neural precursor cells (NPCs), but how microglia interact with NPCs remains poorly understood. Here we report on a distinct subset of microglial cells, which we term periventricular microglia, that are located near the lateral ventricle in the prenatal neocortex. Periventricular microglia exhibit a set of similar characteristics in embryonic rat and fetal rhesus monkey cortex. In both species, these cells occupy ~60 μm of the ventricular zone in the tangential axis and make contact with the soma and processes of NPCs dividing at the ventricle for over 50 μm along the radial axis. Periventricular microglia exhibit notable differences across species, including distinct morphological features such as terminal bouton-like structures that contact mitotic NPCs in the fetal rhesus monkey but not in rat. These morphological distinctions suggest differential functions of periventricular microglia in rat and rhesus monkey, yet are consistent with the concept that microglia regulate NPC function in the developing cerebral cortex of mammalian species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


  • cerebral cortex
  • fetal development
  • neural precursor cells
  • nonhuman primate
  • periventricular microglial cells
  • prenatal
  • radial glial cells
  • RRID: AB_2224402
  • RRID: AB_592962
  • RRID: AB_839504
  • ventricular zone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Periventricular microglial cells interact with dividing precursor cells in the nonhuman primate and rodent prenatal cerebral cortex'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this