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Dev Biol. 1984 Jan;101(1):51-60.

Transient expression of selected catecholaminergic traits in cranial sensory and dorsal root ganglia of the embryonic rat.


We describe the transient expression of catecholaminergic traits in cranial sensory and dorsal root ganglia of the embryonic rat in vivo. Isolated cells expressing tyrosine hydroxylase (T-OH) immunoreactivity were initially detected in trigeminal (V) ganglion anlages as early as gestational Day 10.5 (E10.5; 18-22 somites). Neurofilament (NF) protein was also evident in V at these early stages. By E11.5 (27-30 somites) clusters of T-OH-positive cells were visible in V. Many of these cells were bipolar; others sent processes into the primitive brainstem. In addition, cells expressing T-OH were apparent in primordia of sensory ganglia serving the glossopharyngeal (IX) and vagal (X) cranial nerves. By this stage (E11.5) all cranial sensory ganglia were rich in NF protein, but immunoreactivity was confined to cellular processes rather than perikarya. By E12 (35-37 somites), only a few, faintly positive T-OH-containing cells were evident in V. However, DBH- and T-OH-positive cells were visible within the more caudal nodose and petrosal ganglia. Furthermore, isolated bipolar cells expressing T-OH were detected in rostral dorsal root ganglia at this stage. Catecholamine fluorescence could not be detected in any sensory ganglia even after maternal treatment with inhibitors of monoamine oxidase. Catecholaminergic cells were not seen at any stage in anlages of the acousticovestibular nucleus. Immunoreactive T-OH was undetectable in all ganglia by E13.5 (46-48 somites). These findings highlight the fact that transient expression of the catecholamine phenotype during development is a widespread phenomenon, evident in a variety of cell types of diverse embryonic origin.

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