Temporal and Spatial Analysis of Enteric Nervous System Regeneration in the Sea Cucumber Holothuria Glaberrima.
García-Arrarás, José E.
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There is limited information on the regeneration of the enteric nervous system (ENS) following major reconstruction of the digestive tract. We have studied ENS regeneration in the sea cucumber Holothuria glaberrima which undergoes an organogenic process forming a new digestive tract at the tip of the mesentery. Our results show that (1) a degeneration of nerve fibers occurs early in the regeneration process, prior to eventual regeneration; (2) nerve fibers that innervate the regenerating intestine are of extrinsic and intrinsic origin; (3) innervation by extrinsic fibers occurs in a gradient that begins in the proximal area of the regenerate; (4) late events include the appearance of nerve fibers that project from the serosa into the connective tissue and of nerve bundles in the mesothelial layer; (5) neurons and neuroendocrine cells appear early following the formation of the epithelial layers. Our results provide not only a comparative biological approach to study ENS regeneration but also an alternative point of view for the study of enteric neuropathologies and for the innervation of organs made in vitro.