Developmental potential of avian trunk neural crest cells in situ

Neuron. 1989 Dec;3(6):755-66. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(89)90244-4.


To analyze the developmental potential of individual neural crest cells or their precursors, we have microinjected a vital dye, lysinated rhodamine dextran (LRD), into single cells in the dorsal neural tube. The phenotypes of the descendants that inherited the LRD from the injected cells were evaluated based upon their position, morphology, and neurofilament expression. Individual neural crest cells labeled before or as they emigrated from the neural tube gave rise to both sensory and sympathetic neurons as well as nonneuronal cells, some of which had the morphological characteristics of Schwann cells or pigment cells. In numerous cases, the descendants of a single cell included both neural crest- and neural tube-derived neurons, suggesting that some cells of the peripheral and central nervous systems share a common lineage. Our data demonstrate definitively that both emigrating and premigratory trunk neural crest cells can be multipotent, giving rise not only to cells in multiple neural crest derivatives, but also to both neuronal and nonneuronal elements within a given derivative.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Movement
  • Chick Embryo
  • Clone Cells
  • Coloring Agents
  • Dextrans
  • Neural Crest / cytology*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Phenotype
  • Rhodamines


  • Coloring Agents
  • Dextrans
  • Rhodamines
  • rhodamine dextran