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Differentiation. 2003 Sep;71(7):402-13.

Mouse urogenital development: a practical approach.

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Department of Anatomy, HSW-1323, University of California, 513 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


A detailed knowledge of the developmental anatomy of the embryonic mouse urogenital tract is required to recognize mutant urogenital phenotypes in transgenic and knock-out mice. Accordingly, the purpose of this article is to review urogenital development in the mouse embryo and to give an illustrated methodological protocol for the dissection of urogenital organ rudiments at 12-13 days of gestation (E12-13) to isolate the urogenital ridge and at E16 to isolate the seminal vesicle, Müllerian duct, Wolffian duct, and prostatic rudiment, the urogenital sinus (UGS). The UGS can be cultured and, in the presence of testosterone, prostatic buds form in vitro. Because of the importance of mesenchymal-epithelial interactions in urogenital development, methods for the isolation of epithelium and mesenchyme from the embryonic urogenital sinus are also described. Urogenital sinus mesenchyme (UGM) and urogenital sinus epithelium (UGE) can be used to construct tissue recombinants that can either be grown in vitro or grafted in vivo for the study of epithelial-mesenchymal interactions in prostatic development.

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