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Nat Neurosci. 2004 Sep;7(9):930-8. Epub 2004 Aug 22.

Neural crest boundary cap cells constitute a source of neuronal and glial cells of the PNS.

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  • 1Unité 368 de l'Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Ecole Normale Supérieure, 46 rue d'Ulm, 75230 Paris Cedex 05, France.


Boundary cap (BC) cells are neural crest derivatives that form clusters at the surface of the neural tube, at entry and exit points of peripheral nerve roots. Using various knock-in alleles of the mouse gene Egr2 (also known as Krox20), the expression of which, in trunk regions, is initially restricted to BC cells, we were able to trace BC cell progeny during development and analyze their fate. Trunk BC-derived cells migrated along peripheral axons and colonized spinal nerve roots and dorsal root ganglia (DRG). All Schwann cell precursors occupying the dorsal roots were derived from BC cells. In the DRG, BC-derived cells were the progenitors of both neurons, mainly nociceptive afferents, and satellite cells. These data indicate that BC cells constitute a source of peripheral nervous system (PNS) components that, after the major neural crest ventrolateral migratory stream, feeds a secondary wave of migration to the PNS.

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