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Published June 1989 | public
Journal Article

Cellular 'neoteny': a possible developmental basis for chromaffin cell plasticity


Adrenal medullary chromaffin cells, SIF cells and sympathetic neurons are derived from the sympatho-adrenal sublineage of the neural crest, and represent a range of cellular phenotypes extending from endocrine to neuronal. It is suggested here that these cell types may represent different stages of developmental 'arrest' along a linear pathway whose endpoint is a cholinergic sympathetic neuron. This model explains the 'transdifferentiation' of mature cells seen in this system as simply a delayed realization of transitions that normally occur between these stages during development. Such a 'linear model' of phenotypic diversification may be applicable to other developing systems that generate closely related but distinct cell types.

Additional Information

© 1989 Published by Elsevier Ltd. I thank Paul Patterson, Story Landis, Martin Raff, Jeremy Brockes, and especially Alison Doupe for their constructive comments on this manuscript. This acknowledgement should not, however, be taken as implying an endorsement by these individuals of the ideas and opinions presented in this paper. I also acknowledge important discussions with Karl Herrup and Gary Freeman, Supported by a Sloan Foundation Fellowship in Neuroscience to D.J.A.

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