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Cell Tissue Res. 1999 Apr;296(1):161-73.

Myotome formation: a multistage process.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, PO Box 12272 Jerusalem 91120, Israel.


The epaxial muscles of the body are localized in a dorsomedial position with respect to the axial structures, attach to the vertebral column and are concerned with maintenance of posture and movements of the vertebral column. The epaxial musculature derives from the myotome, a transient embryonic structure whose formation is initiated at the epithelial somite stage and is accomplished following complete dissociation of the epithelial dermomyotome. Recent results suggest that myotome development is a multistage process, characterized by addition of sequential waves of muscle progenitors. A first wave originates along the medial part of the epithelial somite and gives rise to a primary myotomal structure; a second wave arises from the rostral and caudal lips of the epithelial dermomyotome and from the dorsomedial lip, which contributes indirectly through the rostral and caudal edges, and a third wave which is composed of mitotically active resident progenitors accounts for significant growth of the myotomal mass and for its transition into epaxial muscle. In this review we discuss the origin, migration and known cellular and molecular features that characterize each wave of progenitors that colonize the myotome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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