Ubiquitous Embryonic Expression of the Norepinephrine TransporterRen Z.G.a · Pörzgen P.P.b · Youn Y.-H.a · Sieber-Blum M.a
aDepartment of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisc., and bVollum Institute for Biomedical Research, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, Oreg., USA
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We report that the norepinephrine transporter (NET) is expressed in avian and mouse embryos by numerous tissues that are derived from all three germ layers. In the nervous system, NET is expressed in the neuroepithelium of the brain and the spinal cord (ventral horn and floor plate), forming mesencephalic nuclei, neural crest, dorsal root ganglion, sympathetic ganglion and spinal nerve. Nonneuronal embryonic NET-expressing structures include the olfactory epithelium, the notochord, the somitic dermamyotome and mesenchymal cells in the limb bud. NET is expressed prominently in the cardiovascular system, including endothelial cells of forming blood vessels, the walls of the aorta and veins, the epicardium, myocardium and a subset of blood cells. The gut, lung buds, and in particular the kidneys, are intensely NET immunoreactive. Since neurotransmitters are known to affect proliferation, survival and differentiation of many mesenchymal cell types, NET function may be a physiologically relevant regulatory element in embryonic development. A working model is proposed for neurotransmitter transporter function in the embryo as a system for the concentration and targeted delivery of neurotransmitter.
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