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Keywords:

  • galanin;
  • embryonic development;
  • mesenchyme and neural crest;
  • stem cells;
  • bone development

Abstract

Galanin is a highly conserved neuropeptide with a wide range of biological effects. Recently, through transcriptome analysis, galanin was identified in undifferentiated mouse embryonic stem cells as one of the most abundant transcripts. We have examined the developmental expression of galanin-like immunoreactivity in mice from embryonic day 10 (E10) to embryonic day 15 (E15). At E10, galanin was readily detected in the undifferentiated head and trunk mesenchyme of both mesodermal and neural crest origin. There was also strong immunoreactivity in the mesenchymal spiral ridges of the outflow tract of the heart and the endocardial cushions. The highest level of galanin detected was at E13 in the craniofacial mesenchyme and proliferating chondrocytes in bones of both neural crest and mesoderm origin. Dorsal root ganglia and trigeminal ganglia contained galanin immunoreactive cells as well. These data indicate the presence of galanin peptide during periods of morphogenesis and thus a developmental role for the peptide in mesenchymal and neural crest origin tissues in the mouse embryo. Whether galanin has a growth and/or differentiating role, still remains to be demonstrated. Anat Rec, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.