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PLoS One. 2013 Aug 15;8(8):e70325. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0070325. eCollection 2013.

Identification of multiple subsets of ventral interneurons and differential distribution along the rostrocaudal axis of the developing spinal cord.

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  • 1Université catholique de Louvain, Institute of Neuroscience, Laboratory of Neural Differentiation, Brussels, Belgium.


The spinal cord contains neuronal circuits termed Central Pattern Generators (CPGs) that coordinate rhythmic motor activities. CPG circuits consist of motor neurons and multiple interneuron cell types, many of which are derived from four distinct cardinal classes of ventral interneurons, called V0, V1, V2 and V3. While significant progress has been made on elucidating the molecular and genetic mechanisms that control ventral interneuron differentiation, little is known about their distribution along the antero-posterior axis of the spinal cord and their diversification. Here, we report that V0, V1 and V2 interneurons exhibit distinct organizational patterns at brachial, thoracic and lumbar levels of the developing spinal cord. In addition, we demonstrate that each cardinal class of ventral interneurons can be subdivided into several subsets according to the combinatorial expression of different sets of transcription factors, and that these subsets are differentially distributed along the rostrocaudal axis of the spinal cord. This comprehensive molecular profiling of ventral interneurons provides an important resource for investigating neuronal diversification in the developing spinal cord and for understanding the contribution of specific interneuron subsets on CPG circuits and motor control.

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