3 years ago

Gut feelings: Studying enteric nervous system development, function, and disease in the zebrafish model system

Julia Ganz
The enteric nervous system (ENS) is the largest part of the peripheral nervous system and is entirely neural crest–derived. It provides the intrinsic innervation of the gut, controlling different aspects of gut function, such as motility. In this review, we will discuss key points of Zebrafish ENS development, genes, and signaling pathways regulating ENS development, as well as contributions of the Zebrafish model system to better understand ENS disorders. During their migration, enteric progenitor cells (EPCs) display a gradient of developmental states based on their proliferative and migratory characteristics, and show spatiotemporal heterogeneity based on gene expression patterns. Many genes and signaling pathways that regulate the migration and proliferation of EPCs have been identified, but later stages of ENS development, especially steps of neuronal and glial differentiation, remain poorly understood. In recent years, Zebrafish have become increasingly important to test candidate genes for ENS disorders (e.g., from genome-wide association studies), to identify environmental influences on ENS development (e.g., through large-scale drug screens), and to investigate the role the gut microbiota play in ENS development and disease. With its unique advantages as a model organism, Zebrafish will continue to contribute to a better understanding of ENS development, function, and disease. Developmental Dynamics, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/dvdy.24597

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