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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2000 Mar;22(3):304-15.

Pulmonary hypoplasia in the myogenin null mouse embryo.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Texas at Houston Medical School, USA.


Although fetal breathing movements are required for normal lung development, there is uncertainty concerning the specific effect of absent fetal breathing movements on pulmonary cell maturation. We set out to evaluate pulmonary development in a genetically defined mouse model, the myogenin null mouse, in which there is a lack of normal skeletal muscle fibers and thus skeletal muscle movements are absent in utero. Significant decreases were observed in lung:body weight ratio and lung total DNA at embryonic days (E)14, E17, and E20. Reverse transcriptase/polymerase chain reaction, in situ immunofluorescence, and electron microscopy revealed early lung cell differentiation in both null and wild-type lungs as early as E14. However at E14, myogenin null lungs had decreased 5'-bromo-2-deoxyuridine incorporation compared with that of wild-type littermates, whereas at E17 and E20, increased Bax immunolabeling and terminal deoxyribonucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick-end labeling staining were detected in the myogenin null mice but not in the wild-type littermates. These observations highlight the importance of skeletal muscle contractile activity in utero for normal lung organogenesis. Null mice lacking the muscle-specific transcription factor myogenin exhibit a secondary effect on lung development such that decreased lung cell proliferation and increased programmed cell death are associated with lung hypoplasia.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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