Fetal and postnatal enteric neuronal cell lines for use in studying the enteric nervous system.
We have developed fetal (IM-FEN) and postnatal (IM-PEN) enteric neuronal cell lines with features similar to primary enteric neurons. The IM-FEN and IM-PEN have been passaged 40 times since their isolation and have shown no major changes in their cell growth characteristics, morphology, neuronal properties, or GDNF sensitivity. This homogeneity suggests that the lines will tend to remain phenotypically and biologically stable in vitro for many generations.
We have shown that IM-FEN and IM-PEN have neuronal characteristics shown by the expression of HuD and the neurofilament markers peripherin, PGP9.5, and tau. In the presence of interferon at 33°C, the temperature at which the enteric neuronal precursors isolated from immortomice proliferate, we find a minimal expression of glial markers or a-SMA. However, at 39°C, the temperature that inhibits proliferation and promotes differentiation, we found a reduction in glial or smooth muscle markers and further differentiation of neuronal markers. We also found expression of nestin in both IM-FEN and IM-PEN at 33°C, but very limited expression at 39°C.
These cells will be a valuable tool to study the neurobiology of the enteric nervous system. These cell lines can be used to study the development of the enteric nervous system as well as the effects of diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson's on the enteric nervous system.