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J Neurosci. 2013 Apr 3;33(14):5969-79. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4350-12.2013.

Proliferation and cell cycle dynamics in the developing stellate ganglion.

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Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia.


Cell proliferation during nervous system development is poorly understood outside the mouse neocortex. We measured cell cycle dynamics in the embryonic mouse sympathetic stellate ganglion, where neuroblasts continue to proliferate following neuronal differentiation. At embryonic day (E) 9.5, when neural crest-derived cells were migrating and coalescing into the ganglion primordium, all cells were cycling, cell cycle length was only 10.6 h, and S-phase comprised over 65% of the cell cycle; these values are similar to those previously reported for embryonic stem cells. At E10.5, Sox10(+) cells lengthened their cell cycle to 38 h and reduced the length of S-phase. As cells started to express the neuronal markers Tuj1 and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) at E10.5, they exited the cell cycle. At E11.5, when >80% of cells in the ganglion were Tuj1(+)/TH(+) neuroblasts, all cells were again cycling. Neuroblast cell cycle length did not change significantly after E11.5, and 98% of Sox10(-)/TH(+) cells had exited the cell cycle by E18.5. The cell cycle length of Sox10(+)/TH(-) cells increased during late embryonic development, and ∼25% were still cycling at E18.5. Loss of Ret increased neuroblast cell cycle length at E16.5 and decreased the number of neuroblasts at E18.5. A mathematical model generated from our data successfully predicted the relative change in proportions of neuroblasts and non-neuroblasts in wild-type mice. Our results show that, like other neurons, sympathetic neuron differentiation is associated with exit from the cell cycle; sympathetic neurons are unusual in that they then re-enter the cell cycle before later permanently exiting.

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