Influences of the thalamus on the survival of subplate and cortical plate cells in cultured embryonic mouse brain.
During development of the cortex, efferent projection neurons located in distinct cortical layers send their axons to different targets, and afferent fibers establish connections with cortical target cells of a particular layer. Recent studies have shown that layer- and cell-specific afferent and efferent cortical connections established in culture are similar to those observed in vivo. The results of these experiments provide evidence for the existence of diffusible and membrane-bound guidance factors for specific sets of axons. Furthermore, they suggest the use of different molecules to navigate axons towards their target, regulate target innervation and mediate target cell recognition.