Dual embryonic origin of the mammalian enteric nervous system.


Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A8, Canada. Electronic address: [Email]


The enteric nervous system is thought to originate solely from the neural crest. Transgenic lineage tracing revealed a novel population of clonal pancreatic duodenal homeobox-1 (Pdx1)-Cre lineage progenitor cells in the tunica muscularis of the gut that produced pancreatic descendants as well as neurons upon differentiation in vitro. Additionally, an in vivo subpopulation of endoderm lineage enteric neurons, but not glial cells, was seen especially in the proximal gut. Analysis of early transgenic embryos revealed Pdx1-Cre progeny (as well as Sox-17-Cre and Foxa2-Cre progeny) migrating from the developing pancreas and duodenum at E11.5 and contributing to the enteric nervous system. These results show that the mammalian enteric nervous system arises from both the neural crest and the endoderm. Moreover, in adult mice there are separate Wnt1-Cre neural crest stem cells and Pdx1-Cre pancreatic progenitors within the muscle layer of the gut.


Duodenum,Enteric nervous system,Lineage tracing,Neural crest,Pancreas,Pdx1-Cre-derived neural progenitors,