Author(s): Fu M, Lui VC, Sham MH, Cheung AN, Tam PK
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Abstract HOX genes from paralogous groups 4 and 5 are particularly relevant to the gut neuromusculature development because these genes are expressed at the splanchnic mesoderm surrounding the gut diverticulum, and at the level of the neural tube from where the vagal neural crest cells (NCCs) originate. In this study, we examined the migration and differentiation of NCCs, and investigated the expression patterns of HOXB5 in human embryonic guts. Human embryos of gestational week-4 to -8.5 were studied. Vagal NCCs enter the esophagus, migrate, and colonize the entire gut in a rostrocaudal manner between week-4 and week-7. The migrating NCCs in gut express HOXB5. Two separate and discontinuous mesenchymal expression domains of HOXB5 were detected in the gut: the distal domain preceding the migratory NCCs; and the proximal domain overlapping with the NCCs. The two expression domains shift caudally in parallel with the rostrocaudal migration of NCCs between week-4 and week-5. Neuron and glia differentiation of NCCs are concomitant with HOXB5 down-regulation in NCCs and the mesenchyme. By week-7, myenteric plexuses have formed; HOXB5 expression is switched on in the plexuses. We found that (1) the migratory route of NCCs in human embryonic gut was similar to that in mice and chicks; and (2) the expression pattern of HOXB5 correlated with the migration and differentiation of NCCs, suggesting a regulatory role of HOXB5 in the development of NCCs. Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
This article was published in Dev Dyn
and referenced in Journal of Fertilization: In Vitro - IVF-Worldwide, Reproductive Medicine, Genetics & Stem Cell Biology