In order to study the molecular mechanisms of neuronal migration on developing rat cerebral cortex, we need a tissue culture system in which neuronal migration can be observed. We prepared a tissue culture system of embryonic rat cerebral cortex starting on embryonic day 16 and cultivating it for 48 hours. The autoradiographic study in this system revealed not only the migration of [sup 3]H-thymidine labeled neurons but also neuronal migration delays from low doses of ionizing radiation of more than 10 cGy. In addition, on immunohistochemical study, cell-cell adhesion molecule N-CAM staining was remarkably decreased in the matrix cell layer. In the tissue culture system where monoclonal anti-N-CAM antibodies were added, neuronal migration delay comparable to that of 20 cGy radiation was found. In conclusion, it was speculated that neuronal migration delay might be caused by disturbed N-CAM synthesis in matrix cells after low dose ionizing radiation. (author).