Catapano LA, Arlotta P, Cage TA, Macklis JD. 2004. Stage-specific and opposing roles of BDNF, NT-3 and bFGF in differentiation of purified callosal projection neurons toward cellular repair of complex circuitry. The European journal of neuroscience. 19(9):2421-34. Pubmed: 15128396


Cellular repair of neuronal circuitry affected by neurodegenerative disease or injury may be approached in the adult neocortex via transplantation of neural precursors ("neural stem cells") or via molecular manipulation and recruitment of new neurons from endogenous precursors in situ. A major challenge for potential future approaches to neuronal replacement will be to specifically direct and control progressive differentiation, axonal projection and connectivity of neural precursors along a specific neuronal lineage. This goal will require a progressively more detailed understanding of the molecular controls over morphologic differentiation of specific neuronal lineages, including neurite outgrowth and elongation, in order to accurately permit and direct proper neuronal integration and connectivity. Here, we investigate controls over the morphologic differentiation of a specific prototypical lineage of cortical neurons: callosal projection neurons (CPN). We highly enriched CPN to an essentially pure population, and cultured them at three distinct stages of development from embryonic and postnatal mouse cortex by retrograde fluorescence labelling, followed by fluorescence-activated cell sorting. We find that specific peptide growth factors exert direct stage-specific positive and negative effects over the morphologic differentiation and process outgrowth of CPN. These effects are distinct from the effects of these growth factors on CPN survival [Catapano et al. (2001)J. Neurosci., 21, 8863-8872]. These data may be critical for the future goal of directing lineage-specific neuronal differentiation of transplanted or endogenous precursors/"stem cells" toward cellular repair of complex cortical circuitry.

Related Faculty

Photo of Paola Arlotta

Dr. Arlotta is interested in understanding the molecular laws that govern the birth, differentiation and assembly of the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain that controls how we sense, move and think. She integrates developmental and evolutionary knowledge to investigate therapies for brain repair and for modeling neuropsychiatric disease.

Photo of Jeffrey D. Macklis

Jeffrey Macklis investigates molecular controls and mechanisms over neuron subtype specification, development, diversity, axon guidance-circuit formation, and pathology in the cerebral cortex. His lab seeks to apply developmental controls toward brain and spinal cord regeneration and directed differentiation for in vitro mechanistic modeling using human assembloids.

Search Menu