In Pleurodeles waltl, the early neuronal differentiation of precursor cells from late gastrula stage has been studied by culture in vitro from either isolated neural plate (NP) or isolated neural fold (NF).

The aim of this study was to delineate the information acquired by ectodermal target cells during neural induction. By culturing these cells in vitro either with or without the underlying chordamesoderm, we showed that in the absence of chordamesodermal influence such NP or NF cells exhibited a high degree of biochemical and morphological differentiation as revealed by the synthesis and the storage of neurotransmitters, the activity of specific enzymes, as well as by the expression of neuronal markers: specific changes in cell surface carbohydrates, tetanus toxin binding sites and neurofilament polypeptides. Remarkable changes in the cell adhesive properties were the first events observed in the different central (NP) and peripheral (NF) types.

In cocultures the chordamesodermal cells exert a beneficial influence on this differentiation, specially increasing acetylcholine synthesis. There are some differences between central (NP) or peripheral (NF) neuroblast response to this further notochord or mesodermal influence.

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