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Keywords:

  • primary cilia;
  • neuronal cilia;
  • enteric ganglia;
  • enteric nervous system;
  • ultrastructure

Abstract

The primary cilium is a non-motile cilium whose structure is 9+0. It is involved in co-ordinating cellular signal transduction pathways, developmental processes and tissue homeostasis. Defects in the structure or function of the primary cilium underlie numerous human diseases, collectively termed ciliopathies. The presence of single cilia in the central nervous system (CNS) is well documented, including some choroid plexus cells, neural stem cells, neurons and astrocytes, but the presence of primary cilia in differentiated neurons of the enteric nervous system (ENS) has not yet been described in mammals to the best of our knowledge. The enteric nervous system closely resembles the central nervous system. In fact, the ultrastructure of the ENS is more similar to the CNS ultrastructure than to the rest of the peripheral nervous system. This research work describes for the first time the ultrastructural characteristics of the single cilium in neurons of rat duodenum myenteric plexus, and reviews the cilium function in the CNS to propose the possible role of cilia in the ENS cells.