In situ hybridization reveals transient laminin B-chain expression by individual glial and muscle cells in embryonic leech central nervous system

A. E. Luebke, I. M. Dickerson, Kenneth J Muller

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9 Scopus citations


Laminin, which strongly stimulates axon outgrowth in vitro, appears transiently within the central nervous system (CNS) in embryos. After CNS injury, laminin reportedly reappears along axonal pathways only in animal species in which central axon regeneration is successful, including the leech Hirudo medicinalis. Although glia have been suspected of making CNS laminin, in adult leeches gila are not required for laminin synthesis and evidently microglia, not present in the early embryo, produce laminin. To determine which embryonic cells make laminin, a 1.2 kb DNA fragment of leech laminin B1 chain, with homology to Drosophila, human, and mouse B1 laminins and rat S laminin, was isolated using reverse-transcription and degenerate polymerase chain reaction (PCR) cloning. In situ hybridization revealed that laminin expression began before embryonic day 8, and by days 8 and 9 it was seen in paired CNS muscle cells. By late day 9, the two neuropil glial cells began to express laminin. Lucifer Yellow dye was injected intracellularly and muscle cells stimulated to contract, confirming the identities of muscle and glial cells. Packet glial cells began to express B1 laminin by embryonic day 12. By day 15, the cells of the perineurial sheath expressed B1 laminin, whereas it was no longer detectable in CNS muscle and glia. The results agree with published immunohistochemistry showing laminin within the CNS among growing axons by day 8, and only later in the perineurial sheath, by which time laminin disappears from within the CNS. Therefore, different cells synthesize laminin in the embryo and during repair in adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neurobiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995



  • axon outgrowth
  • B1 laminin
  • cloning
  • Hirudo medicinalis
  • polymerase chain reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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