Neural plate

Last revised by Henry Knipe on 2 Aug 2021

The neural plate is an important developmental structure that forms the foundation of the nervous system 1,2. Formation of the neural plate occurs during the embryological process of neurulation which helps initiate the development of the nervous system 1,3.

The neural plate develops at approximately day 19 after fertilization 2. The neural plate is a thickened portion of ectoderm along the midline of the embryo 4. During neurulation, the folds of the neural plate fuse to form the neural tube 1,2.

Ultimately, the neural plate is an embryonic structure that forms the primitive brain at the cranial end and the spinal cord at the caudal end 1,4.

Related pathology

Failure of neural tube closure in early pregnancy can result in neural tube defects, one of the commonest and most severe malformations of the fetus and newborn 1,2.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: brain development
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  • Case 1: spina bifida
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  • Figure 2: brain embryogenesis
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