How Tissue Mechanical Properties Affect Enteric Neural Crest Cell Migration

Abstract : 1 Neural crest cells (NCCs) are a population of multipotent cells that migrate extensively during vertebrate development. Alterations to neural crest ontogenesis cause several diseases, including cancers and congenital defects, such as Hirschprung disease, which results from incomplete colonization of the colon by enteric NCCs (ENCCs). We investigated the influence of the stiffness and structure of the environment on ENCC migration in vitro and during colonization of the gastrointestinal tract in chicken and mouse embryos. We showed using tensile stretching and atomic force microscopy (AFM) that the mesenchyme of the gut was initially soft but gradually stiffened during the period of ENCC colonization. Second-harmonic generation (SHG) microscopy revealed that this stiffening was associated with a gradual organization and enrichment of collagen fibers in the developing gut. Ex-vivo 2D cell migration assays showed that ENCCs migrated on substrates with very low levels of stiffness. In 3D collagen gels, the speed of the ENCC migratory front decreased with increasing gel stiffness, whereas no correlation was found between porosity and ENCC migration behavior. Metalloprotease inhibition experiments showed that ENCCs actively degraded collagen in order to progress. These results shed light on the role of the mechanical properties of tissues in ENCC migration during development. Neural crest cells (NCCs) are essential to vertebrate development. This highly migratory and multipotent population of cells gives rise to craniofacial structures, cardiac and neuroendocrine derivatives, melanocytes, glial cells and neurons of the peripheral nervous system, as well as the intrinsic innervation of the digestive tract, the enteric nervous system (ENS). Different methods have been used to visualize NCCs and their derivatives, ranging from Le Douarin's historical chick-quail neural tube graft method
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Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2016, 〈10.1038/srep20927〉
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Nicolas Chevalier, Elodie Gazguez, Laurent Bidault, Thomas Guilbert, C Vias, et al.. How Tissue Mechanical Properties Affect Enteric Neural Crest Cell Migration. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2016, 〈10.1038/srep20927〉. 〈inserm-01293000〉

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