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Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 2001 Nov 26;131(1-2):1-8.

Target specific differentiation of peripheral trigeminal axons in rat-chick chimeric explant cocultures.

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  • 1Neuroscience Center, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, 1901 Perdido Street, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.


Avian and rodent trigeminal ganglion (TG) neurons share common features in their neurotrophin requirements and axonal projections between the sensory periphery and the brainstem. In rodents, the whisker pad (WP) is a major peripheral target of the infraorbital (IO) nerve component of the TG. The chick IO nerve is much smaller and innervates the maxillary process (MP). In the embryonic WP, IO axons course in fascicles from a caudal to rostral direction and form terminal plexuses around follicles. In the chick, IO axons travel as a thin bundle to the MP and branch out with no specific patterning. We cocultured E15 rat TG with E5-6 chick MP or chick TG with rat WP explants to examine target influences on trigeminal axon growth patterns as visualized with DiI labeling or neurofilament immunohistochemistry. Chick TG axons showed robust growth into WP explants, and the ganglion increased in size. Thick bundles of axons traveled between rows of follicles and formed a distinct pattern as they developed terminal arbors around individual follicles. In contrast, rat TG axon growth was sparse in chick MP explants and the ganglion size reduced over time. Furthermore, rat TG axons did not show any patterning in the chick MP. Similar target-specific growth patterns were observed when TG explants were given a choice between chick MP and rat WP explants. Collectively these results indicate that both the chick and rat TG cells respond to similar target-specific peripheral cues in the establishment of innervation density and patterning in peripheral orofacial targets.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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