Development of enteric neuron diversity

J Cell Mol Med. 2009 Jul;13(7):1193-210. doi: 10.1111/j.1582-4934.2009.00813.x. Epub 2009 Jun 16.


The mature enteric nervous system (ENS) is composed of many different neuron subtypes and enteric glia, which all arise from the neural crest. How this diversity is generated from neural crest-derived cells is a central question in neurogastroenterology, as defects in these processes are likely to underlie some paediatric motility disorders. Here we review the developmental appearance (the earliest age at which expression of specific markers can be localized) and birthdates (the age at which precursors exit the cell cycle) of different enteric neuron subtypes, and their projections to some targets. We then focus on what is known about the mechanisms underlying the generation of enteric neuron diversity and axon pathfinding. Finally, we review the development of the ENS in humans and the etiologies of a number of paediatric motility disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Shape
  • Enteric Nervous System / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Neuroglia / cytology
  • Neurons / cytology*