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Differentiation. 1993 May;53(1):17-24.

Regional differences between various axial segments of the avian neural crest regarding the formation of enteric ganglia.

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Department of Pediatric Surgery, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


The vagal neural crest adjacent to somites 1-7 gives rise to the enteric ganglia along the entire digestive tract. It is generally assumed that formation of enteric ganglia in preumbilical gut is independent of the axial segment from which the neural crest originates. In post-umbilical gut, however, there is evidence that the axial segment of origin of the neural crest might be relevant to neural differentiation. In this part of the gut, we previously identified a subpopulation of HNK-1-immunoreactive cells within the enteric mesenchyme. This immunoreactivity disappeared upon formation of the enteric nervous system. We studied the interaction between various axial segments of quail neural crest and the microenvironment in a neural chicken hindgut using chorioallantoic membrane cocultures. We found that neural crest cells from various axial segments could migrate into the gut and home to the correct sites. However, whereas vagal neural crest cells differentiated into enteric neurons, neural crest cells from truncal segments mainly differentiated into melanocytes. The HNK-1-immunoreactivity within the enteric mesenchyme only disappeared when neural crest cell colonization was followed by differentiation into enteric neurons and subsequent formation of enteric ganglia. To determine whether differentiation of neural crest cells in chorioallantoic membrane cocultures was influenced by the prolonged presence of the neural tube and notochord, we developed a new coculture system, using neural crest cells cultured in vitro.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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