Multipolar Migration: The Third Mode of Radial Neuronal Migration in the Developing Cerebral Cortex

Hidenori Tabata, Kazunori Nakajima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

451 Citations (Scopus)


Two distinct modes of radial neuronal migration, locomotion and somal translocation, have been reported in the developing cerebral cortex. Although these two modes of migration have been well documented, the cortical intermediate zone contains abundant multipolar cells, and they do not resemble the cells migrating by locomotion or somal translocation. Here, we report that these multipolar cells express neuronal markers and extend multiple thin processes in various directions independently of the radial glial fibers. Time-lapse analysis of living slices revealed that the multipolar cells do not have any fixed cell polarity, and that they very dynamically extend and retract multiple processes as their cell bodies slowly move. They do not usually move straight toward the pial surface during their radial migration, but instead frequently change migration direction and rate; sometimes they even remain in almost the same position, especially when they are in the subventricular zone. Occasionally, the multipolar cells jump tangentially during their radial migration. Because the migration modality of these cells clearly differs from locomotion or somal translocation, we refer to their novel type of migration as "multipolar migration." In view of the high proportion of cells exhibiting multipolar migration, this third mode of radial migration must be an important type of migration in the developing cortex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9996-10001
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Nov 5


  • Cerebral cortex
  • Intermediate zone
  • Mouse
  • Multipolar cell
  • Neuronal migration
  • Radial glial fiber

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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