Neural crest and ectodermal cells intermix in the nasal placode to give rise to GnRH-1 neurons, sensory neurons, and olfactory ensheathing cells

J Neurosci. 2011 May 4;31(18):6915-27. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6087-10.2011.


The origin of GnRH-1 cells and olfactory ensheathing cells has been controversial. Genetic Cre-lox lineage tracing of the neural crest (NC) versus ectodermal contribution to the developing nasal placode was performed using two complementary mouse models, the NC-specific Wnt1Cre mouse line and an ectodermal-specific Crect mouse line. Using these lines we prove that the NC give rise to the olfactory ensheathing cells and subpopulations of GnRH-1 neurons, olfactory and vomeronasal cells. These data demonstrate that Schwann cells and olfactory ensheathing cells share a common developmental origin. Furthermore, the results indicate that certain conditions that impact olfaction and sexual development, such as Kallmann syndrome, may be in part neurocristopathies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Lineage / physiology*
  • Ectoderm / cytology*
  • Ectoderm / metabolism
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neural Crest / cytology*
  • Neural Crest / metabolism
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Schwann Cells / cytology*
  • Schwann Cells / metabolism


  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone