Anatomy and Neuroscience - Research Publications

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    From proliferation to target innervation: signaling molecules that direct sympathetic nervous system development
    Chan, WH ; Anderson, CR ; Gonsalvez, DG (SPRINGER, 2018-05-01)
    The sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system includes a variety of cells including neurons, endocrine cells and glial cells. A recent study (Furlan et al. 2017) has revised thinking about the developmental origin of these cells. It now appears that sympathetic neurons and chromaffin cells of the adrenal medulla do not have an immediate common ancestor in the form a "sympathoadrenal cell", as has been long believed. Instead, chromaffin cells arise from Schwann cell precursors. This review integrates the new findings with the expanding body of knowledge on the signalling pathways and transcription factors that regulate the origin of cells of the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system.
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    The development of descending projections from the brainstem to the spinal cord in the fetal sheep
    Stockx, EM ; Anderson, CR ; Murphy, SM ; Cooke, IRC ; Berger, PJ (BMC, 2007-06-18)
    BACKGROUND: Although the fetal sheep is a favoured model for studying the ontogeny of physiological control systems, there are no descriptions of the timing of arrival of the projections of supraspinal origin that regulate somatic and visceral function. In the early development of birds and mammals, spontaneous motor activity is generated within spinal circuits, but as development proceeds, a distinct change occurs in spontaneous motor patterns that is dependent on the presence of intact, descending inputs to the spinal cord. In the fetal sheep, this change occurs at approximately 65 days gestation (G65), so we therefore hypothesised that spinally-projecting axons from the neurons responsible for transforming fetal behaviour must arrive at the spinal cord level shortly before G65. Accordingly we aimed to identify the brainstem neurons that send projections to the spinal cord in the mature sheep fetus at G140 (term = G147) with retrograde tracing, and thus to establish whether any projections from the brainstem were absent from the spinal cord at G55, an age prior to the marked change in fetal motor activity has occurred. RESULTS: At G140, CTB labelled cells were found within and around nuclei in the reticular formation of the medulla and pons, within the vestibular nucleus, raphe complex, red nucleus, and the nucleus of the solitary tract. This pattern of labelling is similar to that previously reported in other species. The distribution of CTB labelled neurons in the G55 fetus was similar to that of the G140 fetus. CONCLUSION: The brainstem nuclei that contain neurons which project axons to the spinal cord in the fetal sheep are the same as in other mammalian species. All projections present in the mature fetus at G140 have already arrived at the spinal cord by approximately one third of the way through gestation. The demonstration that the neurons responsible for transforming fetal behaviour in early ontogeny have already reached the spinal cord by G55, an age well before the change in motor behaviour occurs, suggests that the projections do not become fully functional until well after their arrival at the spinal cord.
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    Ion Channel Expression in the Developing Enteric Nervous System
    Hirst, CS ; Foong, JPP ; Stamp, LA ; Fegan, E ; Dent, S ; Cooper, EC ; Lomax, AE ; Anderson, CR ; Bornstein, JC ; Young, HM ; McKeown, SJ ; Schubert, M (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2015-03-23)
    The enteric nervous system arises from neural crest-derived cells (ENCCs) that migrate caudally along the embryonic gut. The expression of ion channels by ENCCs in embryonic mice was investigated using a PCR-based array, RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. Many ion channels, including chloride, calcium, potassium and sodium channels were already expressed by ENCCs at E11.5. There was an increase in the expression of numerous ion channel genes between E11.5 and E14.5, which coincides with ENCC migration and the first extension of neurites by enteric neurons. Previous studies have shown that a variety of ion channels regulates neurite extension and migration of many cell types. Pharmacological inhibition of a range of chloride or calcium channels had no effect on ENCC migration in cultured explants or neuritogenesis in vitro. The non-selective potassium channel inhibitors, TEA and 4-AP, retarded ENCC migration and neuritogenesis, but only at concentrations that also resulted in cell death. In summary, a large range of ion channels is expressed while ENCCs are colonizing the gut, but we found no evidence that ENCC migration or neuritogenesis requires chloride, calcium or potassium channel activity. Many of the ion channels are likely to be involved in the development of electrical excitability of enteric neurons.
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    Birthdating of Myenteric Neuron Subtypes in the Small Intestine of the Mouse
    Bergner, AJ ; Stamp, LA ; Gonsalvez, DG ; Allison, MB ; Olson, DP ; Myers, MG ; Anderson, CR ; Young, HM (WILEY, 2014-02-15)
    There are many different types of enteric neurons. Previous studies have identified the time at which some enteric neuron subtypes are born (exit the cell cycle) in the mouse, but the birthdates of some major enteric neuron subtypes are still incompletely characterized or unknown. We combined 5-ethynynl-2'-deoxyuridine (EdU) labeling with antibody markers that identify myenteric neuron subtypes to determine when neuron subtypes are born in the mouse small intestine. We found that different neurochemical classes of enteric neuron differed in their birthdates; serotonin neurons were born first with peak cell cycle exit at E11.5, followed by neurofilament-M neurons, calcitonin gene-related peptide neurons (peak cell cycle exit for both at embryonic day [E]12.5-E13.5), tyrosine hydroxylase neurons (E15.5), nitric oxide synthase 1 (NOS1) neurons (E15.5), and calretinin neurons (postnatal day [P]0). The vast majority of myenteric neurons had exited the cell cycle by P10. We did not observe any EdU+/NOS1+ myenteric neurons in the small intestine of adult mice following EdU injection at E10.5 or E11.5, which was unexpected, as previous studies have shown that NOS1 neurons are present in E11.5 mice. Studies using the proliferation marker Ki67 revealed that very few NOS1 neurons in the E11.5 and E12.5 gut were proliferating. However, Cre-lox-based genetic fate-mapping revealed a small subpopulation of myenteric neurons that appears to express NOS1 only transiently. Together, our results confirm a relationship between enteric neuron subtype and birthdate, and suggest that some enteric neurons exhibit neurochemical phenotypes during development that are different from their mature phenotype.
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    Colonizing while migrating: how do individual enteric neural crest cells behave?
    Young, HM ; Bergner, AJ ; Simpson, MJ ; McKeown, SJ ; Hao, MM ; Anderson, CR ; Enomoto, H (BMC, 2014-03-26)
    BACKGROUND: Directed cell migration is essential for normal development. In most of the migratory cell populations that have been analyzed in detail to date, all of the cells migrate as a collective from one location to another. However, there are also migratory cell populations that must populate the areas through which they migrate, and thus some cells get left behind while others advance. Very little is known about how individual cells behave to achieve concomitant directional migration and population of the migratory route. We examined the behavior of enteric neural crest-derived cells (ENCCs), which must both advance caudally to reach the anal end and populate each gut region. RESULTS: The behavior of individual ENCCs was examined using live imaging and mice in which ENCCs express a photoconvertible protein. We show that individual ENCCs exhibit very variable directionalities and speed; as the migratory wavefront of ENCCs advances caudally, each gut region is populated primarily by some ENCCs migrating non-directionally. After populating each region, ENCCs remain migratory for at least 24 hours. Endothelin receptor type B (EDNRB) signaling is known to be essential for the normal advance of the ENCC population. We now show that perturbation of EDNRB principally affects individual ENCC speed rather than directionality. The trajectories of solitary ENCCs, which occur transiently at the wavefront, were consistent with an unbiased random walk and so cell-cell contact is essential for directional migration. ENCCs migrate in close association with neurites. We showed that although ENCCs often use neurites as substrates, ENCCs lead the way, neurites are not required for chain formation and neurite growth is more directional than the migration of ENCCs as a whole. CONCLUSIONS: Each gut region is initially populated by sub-populations of ENCCs migrating non-directionally, rather than stopping. This might provide a mechanism for ensuring a uniform density of ENCCs along the growing gut.