This study describes the development of the central nervous system in guinea pigs from 12th day post conception (dpc) until birth. Totally, 41 embryos and fetuses were analyzed macroscopically and by means of light and electron microscopy. The neural tube closure was observed at day 14 and the development of the spinal cord and differentiation of the primitive central nervous system vesicles was on 20th dpc. Histologically, undifferentiated brain tissue was observed as a mass of mesenchymal tissue between 18th and 20th dpc, and at 25th dpc the tissue within the medullary canal had higher density. On day 30 the brain tissue was differentiated on day 30 and the spinal cord filling throughout the spinal canal, period from which it was possible to observe cerebral and cerebellar stratums. At day 45 intumescences were visualized and cerebral hemispheres were divided, with a clear division between white and gray matter in brain and cerebellum. Median sulcus of the dorsal spinal cord and the cauda equina were only evident on day 50. There were no significant structural differences in fetuses of 50 and 60 dpc, and animals at term were all lissencephalic. In conclusion, morphological studies of the nervous system in guinea pig can provide important information for clinical studies in humans, due to its high degree of neurological maturity in relation to its short gestation period, what can provide a good tool for neurological studies.
Nervous system; embryology; animal models; histology.