The Cognitive Neuroscience Journal

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Rapid Communication - The Cognitive Neuroscience Journal (2024) Volume 7, Issue 2

Neural crest cell migration and its role in embryonic development

Yin Chuize *

Department of Epidemiology, Capital Medical University, China.

*Corresponding Author:
Yin Chuize
Capital Medical University,

Received: 25-Mar-2024, Manuscript No. aacnj-24-136335; Editor assigned: 28-Mar-2024, PreQC No. aacnj-24-136335(PQ); Reviewed: 11-Apr-2024, QC No. aacnj-24-136335; Revised: 16-Apr-2024, Manuscript No. aacnj-24-136335(R); Published: 23-Apr-2024, DOI:10.35841/aacnj-7.2.199

Citation: Bernd A. Neurulation from neural plate to neural tube. J Cogn Neurosci. 2024;7(2):198.

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Embryonic development is a masterpiece of orchestrated movements and transformations, where cells embark on remarkable journeys to fulfil their destinies. Among the most captivating voyages is that of neural crest cells, a versatile population with the remarkable ability to migrate extensively throughout the developing embryo. Neural crest cell migration is a fundamental process that underlies the formation of diverse structures, including the peripheral nervous system, craniofacial skeleton, and pigment cells. In this expansive exploration, we delve into the intricacies of neural crest cell migration, from its initiation to its multifaceted contributions to embryogenesis and beyond [1].

Neural crest cells arise at the interface between the neural plate and the non-neural ectoderm during early vertebrate embryogenesis. The induction and specification of neural crest cells are governed by a complex interplay of signalling molecules and transcription factors. Key signalling pathways involved in neural crest induction include Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs), Fibroblast Growth Factors (FGFs), and Wnt proteins, which establish a region of competence within the dorsal neural tube. Transcription factors such as Snail, Sox9/10, and FoxD3 then orchestrate the delamination and emigration of neural crest cells from the neural tube, marking the beginning of their extraordinary migratory journey [2].

Delamination and Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) transition of neural crest cells from a stationary epithelial state within the neural tube to a motile mesenchymal phenotype is a hallmark of their migratory behavior. This process, known as Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT), is mediated by a dynamic interplay of cell adhesion molecules, cytoskeletal rearrangements, and signalling pathways [3].

Neural crest cells undergo a series of morphological changes, including loss of apical-basal polarity, dissolution of cell-cell junctions, and acquisition of a mesenchymal morphology characterized by increased motility and invasiveness. EMT is regulated by a myriad of transcription factors, including Snail, Slug, Twist, and FoxD3, which repress epithelial genes and activate mesenchymal genes to facilitate cell detachment and migration [4].

Once liberated from the neural tube, neural crest cells embark on extensive migration pathways that span the entire embryo, guided by a complex array of chemotactic, hypotactic, and repulsive cues. Guidance cues such as Netrins, Semaphoring, and Slits provide directional information to migrating neural crest cells, guiding them along specific routes and steering their movements toward target destinations. Additionally, extracellular matrix (ECM) components, including fibronectin, laminin, and collagen, serve as hypotactic substrates that facilitate cell adhesion and migration along migratory pathways [5].

Segmentation and Trunk Neural Crest Migration: Neural crest cells exhibit remarkable segmental organization along the anterior-posterior axis of the embryo, giving rise to distinct populations with unique migratory behaviours and fates. Trunk neural crest cells, originating from the midbrain to the hindbrain regions, undergo extensive migration along defined pathways, giving rise to a diverse array of derivatives, including sensory and autonomic ganglia, melanocytes, and craniofacial skeletal elements. Trunk neural crest migration is regulated by a complex interplay of signalling pathways, including Retinoic Acid (RA), Endothelin-3 (EDN3), and Glial-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF), which coordinate cell adhesion, chemotaxis, and survival [6].

Cranial Neural Crest Migration: Cranial neural crest cells, arising from the anterior neural tube, embark on an intricate migratory journey that shapes the formation of the craniofacial skeleton and peripheral nervous system. Cranial neural crest migration is guided by a diverse array of signalling molecules, including Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs), Fibroblast Growth Factors (FGFs), and Endothelin-1 (EDN1), which regulate cell adhesion, migration, and differentiation. Disruptions in cranial neural crest migration can lead to a spectrum of craniofacial abnormalities, including cleft palate, cranio-synostosis, and facial dysmorphisms, underscoring the importance of precise spatial and temporal regulation of migratory cues [7, 8].

Contributions to Tissue Formation and Regeneration migratory journey of neural crest cells not only shapes the embryonic landscape but also contributes to tissue formation and regeneration throughout life. Neural crest-derived cells populate a wide range of tissues and organs, including the peripheral nervous system, craniofacial skeleton, cardiac outflow tract, and adrenal medulla. Moreover, neural crest cells possess remarkable regenerative potential, as evidenced by their ability to differentiate into multiple cell types and contribute to tissue repair and regeneration in response to injury or disease. Harnessing the regenerative capacity of neural crest cells holds promise for developing novel therapies for tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, and cell-based therapies [9].

Neural crest cell migration represents a breath-taking journey of destiny, where cells navigate a labyrinth of signalling cues and migratory pathways to shape the embryonic landscape and contribute to tissue formation and regeneration. From their origins within the dorsal neural tube to their diverse fates throughout the embryo, neural crest cells exemplify the remarkable plasticity and versatility of embryonic cells. As our understanding of neural crest cell migration continues to deepen, so too will our ability to unravel the mysteries of embryonic development and harness the regenerative potential of these remarkable cells for therapeutic applications [10].


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