The present study examined the effects of Reelin in the migration of sympathetic preganglionic neurons (SPN) in the spinal cord of the chick. SPN in the chick first migrate from the neuroepithelium to the ventrolateral spinal cord. They then undergo a secondary migration to cluster adjacent to the central canal, forming the column of Terni (CT). During secondary migration, abundant Reelin is found in large areas of the ventral spinal cord; the only areas devoid of Reelin are areas occupied by SPN or somatic motor neurons and the pathway along which SPN migrate. Ectopic expression of Reelin in the pathway of SPN through electroporation of full-length Reelin DNA stopped SPN migration toward their destination. The spatiotemporal pattern of Reelin expression, along with the inhibition of SPN migration by exogenous Reelin, suggests that Reelin functions as a barrier to SPN migration during normal development of the spinal cord.
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