Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Cell Neurosci. 1998 Nov;12(4-5):311-23.

Age-dependent neurotransmitter plasticity of ciliary ganglion neurons.

Author information

Division of Biology 139-74, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, 91125, USA.


We have examined neurotransmitter plasticity in postmitotic cholinergic neurons isolated from 6.5- to 11-day-old embryonic quail ciliary ganglia. Purified neurons were labeled with DiI, transplanted into the trunk of young chick embryos, and assayed for catecholamine content and [3H]thymidine uptake 4 to 5 days later. For ciliary neurons derived from 6.5- to 8-day-old embryos, as many as 25% (average of 9% overall) expressed catecholamines in the host sympathetic ganglia, migratory stream, aortic plexuses, and adrenal medulla. In contrast, neurons from >8-day-old ganglia did not acquire or produce detectable catecholamines, indicating a limited time period over which phenotypic conversion can occur in vivo. As a control, ciliary neurons were also injected into the head mesenchyme of young embryos; no catecholamine expression was observed. Interestingly, after transplantation some DiI-labeled postmitotic ciliary neurons took up [3H]thymidine with or without phenotypic change. These results suggest that phenotypic plasticity in ciliary neurons is age-dependent, is location-dependent, and may involve resumption of DNA replication, a characteristic feature of some differentiating adrenergic sympathetic neurons. Apoptosis of a few proliferating transplanted cells may be induced independently or in association with transmitter change.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center