Spatiotemporal expression pattern of DsRedT3/CCK gene construct during postnatal development of myenteric plexus in transgenic mice

Cell Tissue Res. 2013 May;352(2):199-206. doi: 10.1007/s00441-013-1552-7. Epub 2013 Feb 1.


Cholecystokinin (CCK) is an early marker of both neuronal and endocrine cell lineages in the developing gastrointestinal tract. To determine the quantitative properties and the spatial distribution of the CCK-expressing myenteric neurones in early postnatal life, a transgenic mouse strain with a CCK promoter-driven red fluorescent protein (DsRedT3/CCK) was established. The cell-specific expression of DsRedT3/CCK was validated by in situ hybridization with a CCK antisense riboprobe and by in situ hybridization coupled with immunohistochemistry involving a monoclonal antibody to CCK. A gradual increase in the DsRedT3/CCK-expressing enteric neurones with clear regional differences was documented from birth until the suckling to weaning transition, in parallel with the period of rapid intestinal growth and functional maturation. To evaluate the proportion of myenteric neurones in which DsRedT3/CCK transgene expression was colocalized with the enteric neuronal marker peripherin, immunofluorescence techniques were applied. All DsRedT3/CCK neurones were peripherin-immunoreactive and the proportion of DsRedT3/CCK-expressing myenteric neurones in the duodenum was the highest after the third week of life, when the number of peripherin-immunoreactive myenteric neurones in this region had decreased. Nearly all of the DsRedT3/CCK-expressing neurones also expressed 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HT). Thus, by utilizing a new transgenic mouse strain, we have demonstrated a small number of CCK-expressing myenteric neurones with a developmentally regulated spatiotemporal distribution. The coexistence of CCK and 5-HT in the majority of these neurones suggests their possible regulatory role in feeding at the suckling to weaning transition.

MeSH terms

  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cholecystokinin / biosynthesis*
  • Cholecystokinin / genetics
  • Cholecystokinin / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Luminescent Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Luminescent Proteins / chemistry
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Myenteric Plexus / growth & development*
  • Myenteric Plexus / metabolism*
  • Neurons / chemistry
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Submucous Plexus / metabolism


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • red fluorescent protein
  • Cholecystokinin
  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan