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J Bone Miner Res. 1995 Dec;10(12):1978-87.

Cranial sutures require tissue interactions with dura mater to resist osseous obliteration in vitro.

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  • 1Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Charlottesville, USA.


A chemically defined serum-free medium, which supports the development of bones and fibrous tissues of rat calvaria from nonmineralized mesenchymal precursor tissues, was employed to investigate tissue interactions between the dura matter and overlying tissues. Fetal calvarial rudiments from stages prior to bone and suture morphogenesis (fetal days 19 and 20) and neonatal calvarial rudiments with formed sutures (day 1) were cultured with and without associated dura mater. Removal of calvaria for in vitro culture allowed the examination of suture morphogenesis in the absence of tensional forces exerted on the sutures via fiber tracts in the dura mater originating in the cranial base. Ossification of frontal and parietal bones proceeded in a fashion comparable to development in vivo, but the cranial (coronal) sutures--primary sites for subsequent skull growth--were obliterated by osseous tissue union in the absence of dura mater. Bony fusion did not occur when rudiments were cocultured with dura mater on the opposite sides of 0.45 microns polycarbonate transwell filters, suggesting that the influence of dura mater on sutural obliteration was mediated by soluble factors rather than cell-cell or cell-matrix interactions. These results indicate that cell signaling mechanisms rather than biomechanical tensional forces are required for morphogenesis of the calvaria.

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