Author(s): Musser MA, Michelle SouthardSmith E
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Abstract Normal enteric nervous system (ENS) development relies on numerous factors, including appropriate migration, proliferation, differentiation, and maturation of neural crest (NC) derivatives. Incomplete rostral to caudal migration of enteric neural crest-derived progenitors (ENPs) down the gut is at least partially responsible for the absence of enteric ganglia that is a hallmark feature of Hirschsprung disease (HSCR). The thought that ganglia proximal to aganglionosis are normal has guided surgical procedures for HSCR patients. However, chronic gastrointestinal dysfunction suffered by a subset of patients after surgery as well as studies in HSCR mouse models suggest that aberrant NC segregation and differentiation may be occurring in ganglionated regions of the intestine. Studies in mouse models that possess enteric ganglia throughout the length of the intestine (non-HSCR) have also found that certain genetic alterations affect neural crest lineage balance and interestingly many of these mutants also have functional gastrointestinal (GI) defects. It is possible that many GI disorders can be explained in part by imbalances in NC-derived lineages. Here we review studies evaluating ENS defects in HSCR and non-HSCR mouse models, concluding with clinical implications while highlighting areas requiring further study. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Dev Biol
and referenced in Journal of Genetic Syndromes & Gene Therapy