In developing Aplysia californica, a dramatic proliferation of new neurons occurs throughout the central nervous system (CNS) surprisingly late in juvenile development (Cash and Carew, 1989). In the present study, we investigated the source of these new neurons. Using tritiated thymidine autoradiography, we examined two different juvenile stages: stage 11 (before the large‐scale proliferation)and stage 12 (at the peak of proliferation). Previous results implicated the body wall as a source for neurons in developing Aplysia (McAllister, Scheller, Kandel, and Axel, 1983; Jacob, 1984). Thus, we focused our attention on the body wall adjacent to a specific central ganglion, the abdominal ganglion. We found that in stage 11 there was uniform labelling of cells across the entire body wall. However, in stage 12 there was significantly more labelling in the body wall region immediately adjacent to the abdominal ganglion compared to flanking regions. Thus, at the time of neuronal proliferation, specific and highly localized regions of the body wall immediately opposite their target in the CNS show a significant increase in cell division. We also examined the distribution of labelled cells in the abdominal ganglion at survival times of 1 and 7 days after thymidine injection. In both stage 11 and stage 12, the fraction of labelled cells on the surface of the ganglion decreased over time, with a corresponding significant increase in the fraction observed on the inside. Our results support the hypothesis that specific regions of body wall are significantly up‐regulated in juvenile Aplysia development, giving rise to widespread neuronal proliferation. These neurons then migrate from the body wall to their target ganglion, and from there continue migrating into the ganglion to achieve their final position.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience