Basal ganglia precursors found in aggregates following embryonic transplantation adopt a striatal phenotype in heterotopic locations

Lorenzo Magrassi, Michelle E. Ehrlich, Giorgio Butti, Stefano Pezzotta, Stefano Govoni, Elena Cattaneo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Transplantation of immature CNS-derived cells into the developing brain is a powerful approach to investigate the factors that regulate neuronal position and phenotype. CNS progenitor cells dissociated from the embryonic striatum and implanted into the brain of embryos of the same species generate cells that reaggregate to form easily recognizable structures that we previously called clusters and cells that disperse and integrate as single cells into the host brain. We sought to determine if the neurons in the clusters differentiate according to their final location or acquire a striatal phenotype in heterotopic positions. We transplanted dissociated cells from the E14 rat medial and lateral ganglionic eminences, either combined or in isolation, into the E16 embryonic rat brain. At all time points, we found clusters of BrdU- and DiI-labelled donor cells located in the forebrain and hindbrain, without any apparent preference for striatum. Immunocytochemical analyses revealed that cells in the clusters expressed DARPP-32 and ARPP-21, two antigens typically coexpressed in striatal medium-sized spiny neurons. In agreement with observations previously noted by several groups, isolated cells integrated into heterologous host areas do not express basal ganglia phenotypes. These data imply that immature striatal neuronal progenitors exert a community effect on each other that is permissive and/or instructive for development of a striatal phenotype in heterotopic locations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2847-2855
Number of pages9
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1998



  • Cluster
  • CNS
  • Heterotopic location
  • Neuroblast
  • Striatum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Cell Biology

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