Contact between the developing forebrain and the ingrowing central processes of the olfactory, vomeronasal and terminal nerves is preceded by a migration of neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM)-immunoreactive cells from the epithelium of the olfactory pit and the formation of an NCAM-immunoreactive cellular aggregate in the mesenchyme between the olfactory pit and the forebrain. The axons of the olfactory, vomeronasal, and terminal nerves, also NCAM-immunoreactive, grow into the cellular aggregate, which as development proceeds, becomes continuous with the rostral tip of the forebrain. The lateral and more rostral part of the cellular aggregate receives the ingrowing axons of the olfactory nerves and becomes the olfactory nerve layer of the olfactory bulb. The medial, more caudal part receives the central processes of the vomeronasal and terminal nerves. The vomeronasal nerve ends in the accessory olfactory bulb. The central processes of the terminal nerve end in the medial forebrain. Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH)-immunoreactive neurons, like the vomeronasal and terminal nerves, originate from the medial part of the olfactory pit. These LHRH cells migrate into the brain along and within a scaffolding formed by the NCAM-immunoreactive axons of the vomeronasal and terminal nerves, and they are never seen independent of this NCAM scaffold as they cross the nasal lamina propria. The results suggest that: (1) NCAM is likely to be necessary for scaffold formation, and (2) the scaffold may be essential for the subsequent migration of LHRH neurons into the brain. Because they aggregate, migrating LHRH-immunoreactive neurons, on which we did not detect NCAM immunoreactivity, may interact via other cell adhesion molecules (CAM). Inasmuch as the interaction between the LHRH-immunoreactive neurons and the NCAM-immunoreactive scaffold is heterotypic, the possibility of a heterophilic (NCAM to other CAM) interaction is not ruled out. These findings focus our attention on the functional role of NCAM in this migratory system.