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Histol Histopathol. 2007 Jan;22(1):51-60.

Development of the mouse mandibles and clavicles in the absence of skeletal myogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Halifax NS, Canada.


In this report we employed double-knock-out mouse embryos and fetuses (designated as Myf5-/-: MyoD-/- that completely lacked striated musculature to study bone development in the absence of mechanical stimuli from the musculature and to distinguish between the effects that static loading and weight-bearing exhibit on embryonic development of skeletal system. We concentrated on development of the mandibles (= dentary) and clavicles because their formation is characterized by intramembranous and endochondral ossification via formation of secondary cartilage that is dependent on mechanical stimuli from the adjacent musculature. We employed morphometry and morphology at different embryonic stages and compared bone development in double-mutant and control embryos and fetuses. Our findings can be summarized as follows: a) the examined mutant bones had significantly altered shape and size that we described morphometrically, b) the effects of muscle absence varied depending on the bone (clavicles being more dependent than mandibles) and even within the same bone (e.g., the mandible), and c) we further supported the notion that, from the evolutionary point of view, mammalian clavicles arise under different influences from those that initiate the furcula (wishbone) in birds. Together, our data show that the development of secondary cartilage, and in turn the development of the final shape and size of the bones, is strongly influenced by mechanical cues from the skeletal musculature.

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