Control of Neuronal Ploidy During Vertebrate Development
Somatic tetraploid neurons are present in different structures of the vertebrate nervous system, including cortex and retina. In this chapter, we provide evidence that these neurons can be widely detected in the chick nervous system. We also discuss mechanisms creating neuronal tetraploidy in vertebrates, concluding that the neurotrophin receptor p75 could be responsible for the generation of these neurons in most neural tissues, as previously observed in the retina. Somatic tetraploidy in the chick retina correlates with increased neurons’ soma size and dendritic arborization, giving rise to neurons known to innervate a specific layer of the optic tectum. Tetraploidy could therefore account for neuronal diversity in the normal nervous system. De novo generation of tetraploid neurons has been shown to occur in Alzheimer’s disease. This suggests that the morphological changes expected to occur in the affected neurons could lead to altered neuronal function, thus providing a basis for neurodegeneration.
We thank E. Abanto, M.C. Hernández, N. Villarrubia, and P. Lastres for technical assistance, and MV Chao for the anti-p75NTR polyclonal antibody . The monoclonal antibody G3G4 specifically recognizing BrdU (S. Kaufman) was obtained from the Developmental Studies Hybridoma Bank (University of Iowa). This work was supported by grants from MICINN and FUNDALUCE.
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