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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The location and phenotype of proliferating neural-crest-derived cells in the developing mouse gut.

Neural crest cells that originate in the caudal hindbrain migrate into and along the developing gastrointestinal tract to form the enteric nervous system. While they are migrating, neural-crest-derived cells are also proliferating. Previous studies have shown that the expression of glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and endothelin-3 is highest in the embryonic caecum, and that GDNF alone or in combination with endothelin-3 promotes the proliferation of enteric neural-crest-derived cells in vitro. However, whether neural proliferative zones, like those in the central nervous system, are found along the developing gut is unknown. We used a fluorescent nucleic acid stain to identify dividing cells or BrdU labelling (2 h after administration of BrdU to the mother), combined with antibodies specific to neural crest cells to determine the percentage of proliferating crest-derived cells in various gut regions of embryonic day 11.5 (E11.5) and E12.5 mice. The rate of proliferation of crest-derived cells did not vary significantly in different regions of the gut (including the caecum) or at different distances from the migratory wavefront of vagal crest-derived cells. The phenotype of mitotic enteric crest-derived cells was also examined. Cells expressing the pan-neuronal markers, neurofilament-M and Hu, or the glial marker, S100b, were observed undergoing mitosis. However, no evidence was found for proliferation of cells expressing neuron-type-specific markers, such as nitric oxide synthase (at E12.5) or calcitonin gene-related peptide (at E18.5). Thus, for enteric neurons, exit from the cell cycle appears to occur after the expression of pan-neuronal proteins but prior to the expression of markers of terminally differentiated neurons.[1]


  1. The location and phenotype of proliferating neural-crest-derived cells in the developing mouse gut. Young, H.M., Turner, K.N., Bergner, A.J. Cell Tissue Res. (2005) [Pubmed]
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