Article

Endothelin-3 regulates neural crest cell proliferation and differentiation in the hindgut enteric nervous system.

Department of Pediatric Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Warren 1153, Boston, MA 02114, USA.
Developmental Biology (Impact Factor: 3.64). 06/2006; 293(1):203-17. DOI: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2006.01.032
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Neural crest cells (NCC) migrate, proliferate, and differentiate within the wall of the gastrointestinal tract to give rise to the neurons and glial cells of the enteric nervous system (ENS). The intestinal microenvironment is critical in this process and endothelin-3 (ET3) is known to have an essential role. Mutations of this gene cause distal intestinal aganglionosis in rodents, but its mechanism of action is poorly understood. We find that inhibition of ET3 signaling in cultured avian intestine also leads to hindgut aganglionosis. The aim of this study was to determine the role of ET3 during formation of the avian hindgut ENS. To answer this question, we created chick-quail intestinal chimeras by transplanting preganglionic quail hindguts into the coelomic cavity of chick embryos. The quail grafts develop two ganglionated plexuses of differentiated neurons and glial cells originating entirely from the host neural crest. The presence of excess ET3 in the grafts results in a significant increase in ganglion cell number, while inhibition of endothelin receptor-B (EDNRB) leads to severe hypoganglionosis. The ET3-induced hyperganglionosis is associated with an increase in enteric crest cell proliferation. Using hindgut explants cultured in collagen gel, we find that ET3 also inhibits neuronal differentiation in the ENS. Finally, ET3, which is strongly expressed in the ceca, inhibits the chemoattraction of NCC to glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF). Our results demonstrate multiple roles for ET3 signaling during ENS development in the avian hindgut, where it influences NCC proliferation, differentiation, and migration.

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