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Pigment Cell Res. 2003 Feb;16(1):50-8.

Xanthophore migration from the dermis to the epidermis and dermal remodeling during Salamandra salamandra salamandra (L.) larval development.

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  • 1Department of Animal Biology, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.


During larval development of Salamandra salamandra salamandra chromatophores organize to form the definitive pigment pattern constituted by a black background with yellow patches that are characterized by epidermal xanthophores and dermal iridophores. Simultaneously the dermis undergoes remodeling from the larval stage to that typical of the adult. In the present study we ultrastucturally and immunocytochemically examined skin fragments of S. s. salamandra larvae and juveniles in order to investigate the modalities of xanthophore migration and differentiation in the context of dermal remodeling from the larval to adult stage. Semithin and thin sections showed that the dermis in newly born larvae consists of a compact connective tissue (basement lamella), to which fibroblasts and xanthophores adhere, and of a loose deep collagen layer. As larval development proceeds, fibroblasts and xanthophores invade the basement lamella, skin glands develop and the adult dermis forms. At metamorphosis, xanthophores reach the epidermis crossing through the basal lamina. We examined immunocytochemically the expression of signal molecules, such as fibronectin, vitronectin, beta1-integrin, chondroitin sulfate, E-cadherin, N-cadherin and plasminogen activator, which are known to be involved in regulating morphogenetic events. Their role in dermal remodeling and in pigment pattern formation is discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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