Development of oculomotor axon projections in the chick embryo

Chilton, John Kevin and Guthrie, Sarah (2004) Development of oculomotor axon projections in the chick embryo. The Journal of Comparative Neurology, 472 (3). pp. 308-317. ISSN 0021-9967

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The pattern of innervation of the extraocular muscles is highly conserved across higher vertebrate species and mediates sophisticated visuomotor processes. Defects in oculomotor development often lead to strabismus, a misalignment of the eyes that can cause partial blindness. Although it has been intensively studied from a clinical perspective, relatively little is known about how the system develops embryonically. We have therefore mapped the development of the oculomotor nerve (OMN) in chick embryos by using confocal microscopy. We show that OMN development follows a series of stereotyped steps that are tightly regulated in space and time. The OMN initially grows past three of its targets to innervate its distal target, the ventral oblique muscle, only later forming branches to the more proximal muscles. We have also investigated spatiotemporal aspects of the unusual contralateral migration of a subpopulation of oculomotor neurons by using molecular markers and have found the semaphorin axon guidance molecules and their receptors, the neuropilins, to be expressed in discrete subnuclei during this migration. Finally, we have created an embryological model of Duane retraction syndrome (DRS), a form of strabismus in which the OMN is believed to innervate aberrantly the lateral rectus, the normal target of the abducens nerve. By ablating rhombomeres 5 and 6 and hence the abducens, we have mimicked a proposed oculomotor deficit occurring in DRS. We find that the absence of the abducens nerve is not sufficient to produce this inappropriate innervation, so other factors are required to explain DRS. J. Comp. Neurol. 472:308–317, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Neuroscience
Depositing User: Stephanie McGuire
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2017 14:08
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2017 14:08
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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
UnsetUnsetHuman Frontiers Science ProjectRG0145/1998B