The vagal neural crest adjacent to the first seven somites gives rise to both ganglionic and ectomesenchymal derivatives. Ganglionic derivatives are the neurons and supportive cells of the enteric nervous system (ENS), cardiac, and dorsal root ganglia. Ectomesenchymal derivatives are cells in the cardiac outflow tract and the mesenchymal components of thymus and parathyroids. Ectomesenchymal derivatives are formed by a segment of the vagal neural crest, from the level of the otic vesicle down to the caudal boundary of the third somite, called the cardiac neural crest. We performed neural crest ablations to study regional differences within the avian vagal neural crest with regard to the formation of the ENS. Ablation of the entire vagal neural crest from the mid‐otic vesicle down to the seventh somite plus the nodose placode resulted in the absence of ganglia in the midgut (jejunum and ileum) and hindgut (colon). The foregut (esophagus, proventriculus, gizzard, and duodenum) was normally innervated. After ablation of the vagal neural crest adjacent to somites 3–5, ganglia were absent in the hindgut. Ablations of vagal neural crest not including this segment had no effect on the formation of the ENS. We surmise that the innervation of the hindgut in vivo depends specifically on the neural crest adjacent to somites 3–5, whereas innervation of the midgut can be accomplished by all segments within the vagal neural crest. The foregut can also be innervated by a source outside the vagal neural crest. To study intrinsic differences between various vagal neural crest segments regarding ENS formation, we performed chorioallantoic membrane cocultures of segments of quail vagal neural anlage and E4 chicken hindgut. We found that all vagal neural crest segments were able to give rise to enteric ganglia in the hindgut. When the neural crest of somites 6 and 7 was included in the segment, we also found melanocytes in the hindgut, suggesting that this segment is more related to trunk neural crest. Furthermore, we found that the vagal neural anlage from older embryos (>18 somites) showed an increased potential to form enteric ganglia. This suggests that vagal neural crest cells that have been in prolonged contact with the neural tube in vivo, because of either late emigration or delayed migration, have an increased probability to form enteric ganglia.

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Developmental Dynamics
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Peters‐Van Der Sanden, M.J.H. (Marjo J. H.), Kirby, M.L. (Margaret L.), Gittenberger-de Groot, A., Tibboel, D., Mulder, M., & Meijers, C. (1993). Ablation of various regions within the avian vagal neural crest has differential effects on ganglion formation in the fore‐, mid‐ and hindgut. Developmental Dynamics, 196(3), 183–194. doi:10.1002/aja.1001960305