Aim: The sites of haematopoiesis during human ontogeny can be correlated to the sites where haematopoiesis occurs in vertebrate phylogeny. As haematopoiesis has been described in the diencephalon and pituitary gland of water-inhabiting vertebrates we wanted to find out whether such a phenomenon also occurs in human embryos. Material and Methods: Paraffin-embedded specimens from the diencephalon and pituitary gland of human embryos at the 7th to 22nd gestational week and from adults were investigated by conventional histology and immunohistology for the presence of haematopoietic cells. Results: Cellular accumulations predominantly of erythroid and megakaryocytic lineage were identified in the floor of the developing diencephalon of the 7th/8th gestational week. At the older developmental stages of the 18th to 22nd gestational week loose aggregates of haematopoietic cells within the leptomeningeal spaces adjacent to the hypophyseal infundibulum were detected in 2 out of 7 cases analyzed. Conclusions: As it has been proposed that lymphohaematopoietic clusters occasionally occur within the brain in bone marrow-less vertebrates as a response to noxious agents, we speculate that this temporal appearance of haematopoietic cell clusters within the diencephalon floor in early human ontogeny could also be due to fetal immunomodulations.

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