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J Craniofac Surg. 2005 Jan;16(1):80-8.

Craniofacial anomalies of the cultured mouse embryo induced by inhibition of sonic hedgehog signaling: an animal model of holoprosencephaly.

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  • 1Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University Hospital, University of Tokyo Graduate School of Medicine, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8655, Japan.


The pathogenesis of holoprosencephaly is multifactorial, and blockage of Sonic hedgehog signaling is one of the most important causative factors in animal models and human cases. In this study, the authors analyzed facial anomalies of mouse embryos, which were cultured in vitro and exposed to cyclopamine, an alkaloid blocker of Sonic hedgehog signaling. When cultured with cyclopamine for embryonic day 8.5 to 10.5, the whole body size was smaller than normal, and the distance and angle between the nasal placodes were remarkably reduced. Extension of the cranial surface vessels also was noted. No cyclopia was observed. Migration of the cranial neural crest cells seemed to be intact. Expressions of Patched-1 and Gli-1, downstream genes of Sonic hedgehog signaling, also were down-regulated in in situ hybridization and real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analyses. The authors consider that these facial anomalies represent milder phenotypes of holoprosencephaly.

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