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ABSTRACT: To investigate the expression of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5) and its cellular distribution in the frontal cortex, ventricular zone (VZ) and subventricular zone (SVZ) in human fetuses. According to the gestational age, the collected fetuses were divided into 4 groups, namely 9-11 weeks, 14-16 weeks, 22-24 weeks and 32-36 weeks. Brain tissue blocks including the frontal lobe or VZ/SVZ were prepared into slices, and the expression pattern and cellular distribution of mGluR5 in the frontal cortex and VZ/SVZ were observed by immunohistochemistry or immunofluorescence. mGluR5 immunoreactivity was present in the cell membrane in the frontal cortex, VZ and SVZ from the 9th to 36th weeks and the immunoreactivity in the marginal zone (MZ) and cortical plate (CP) was markedly stronger than that in VZ and SVZ. The cells expressing mGluR5 included neural stem/progenitor cells in the VZ and SVZ, immature neurons in the VZ and MZ, and numerous mature neurons in the CP. mGluR5 is expressed by a variety of cells such as neural stem cells in the frontal cortex, VZ and SVZ in human fetus, suggesting a role of mGluR5 in the development of human cerebral cortex.Nan fang yi ke da xue xue bao = Journal of Southern Medical University 04/2012; 32(4):443-8.