All Sample Questions

Spinal Cord Development 1

Spinal cord development
embryology

Question

Vignette: A 28-year-old pregnant woman at 16 weeks gestation undergoes an ultrasound. The sonographer reports to the obstetrician that the fetus appears to have a dilated central canal within the spinal cord. This finding is most consistent with an abnormality in which of the following embryologic processes?

Choices

A) Neurulation

B) Gastrulation

C) Somite differentiation

D) Neural crest cell migration

E) Formation of the neural tube

Answer

E) Formation of the neural tube

Explanation

The clinical vignette describes a fetus with a dilated central canal within the spinal cord, a finding consistent with hydromyelia or syringomyelia. These conditions are typically associated with abnormalities in the formation of the neural tube during embryologic development. The neural tube is derived from the neural plate and its formation (neurulation) begins in the 3rd week of embryonic development. Failure of this process can result in various neural tube defects, including spina bifida and anencephaly.

So, while neurulation (Choice A) is a process that is involved in the formation of the neural tube, the question specifically asks for the embryologic process that is abnormal, which would be the formation of the neural tube (Choice E).

Gastrulation (Choice B) is the process by which the three germ layers (ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm) are formed. Somite differentiation (Choice C) gives rise to the vertebrae, rib cage, and part of the skin. Neural crest cell migration (Choice D) gives rise to a variety of tissues, including the peripheral nervous system, melanocytes, and facial cartilage. None of these processes are directly involved in the formation of the central canal of the spinal cord.

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