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J Neurobiol September 1, 1994; 25 (9): 1095-112.

The TRH neuronal phenotype forms embryonic cell clusters that go on to establish a regionalized cell fate in forebrain.

How neurons diversify in developing brain to produce discrete cell fates in their appropriate regions remains a fundamental question. Embryonic Xenopus was previously used to identify juxtaposed embryonic cells that first express proopiomelanocortin mRNA in forebrain and pituitary, supporting the idea that this neuropeptide phenotype is induced locally (Hayes and Loh, 1990, Development 110: 747-757). To begin to examine how a more widespread population of forebrain cells is set up, the present focus is on the thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) phenotype. Serial section in situ hybridization histochemistry produced the unexpected finding that the adult-like TRH system spanning forebrain and comprising over six different telencephalic and diencephalic nuclei, is preceded by an embryonic TRH cell population that is initially localized and then highly regionalized in the area from which the adult pattern develops. Thus, the first TRH cells, detected in vivo after 35h (stage 29/30), were confined to discrete anterior or posterior bilateral clusters in embryonic forebrain or hindbrain. Thereafter, the TRH cell clusters in diencephalon, but not hindbrain, expanded to form rows, extending anteriorly into telencephalon and bifurcating posteriorly around the infundibulum. By 80 h (stage 42), after extensive brain morphogenesis, these forebrain rows showed regional differences in levels of TRH mRNA corresponding to the specific brain nuclei that have been shown to contain TRH cells in adult. These findings show that subsets of phenotype-specific forebrain cells first form a regionalized neuronal cell fate before distinct brain nuclei form. This in turn points to the testable hypothesis in Xenopus that certain neuronal cell fates in forebrain may be dictated by cell lineage or local induction.

PubMed ID: 7815066
Article link: J Neurobiol

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: gnao1 pomc trh