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Dev Biol. 2005 Apr 1;280(1):150-61.

Mesonephric FGF signaling is associated with the development of sexually indifferent gonadal primordium in chick embryos.

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Department of Natural Sciences, Hyogo University of Teacher Education, 942-1, Yashiro-cho, Kato Gun, Hyogo 673-1494, Japan.


The gonad as well as the reproductive tracts, kidney, and adrenal cortex are derived from the intermediate mesoderm. In addition, the intermediate mesoderm forms the mesonephros. Although the mesonephros is the source of certain testicular cell types, its contribution to gonad formation through expression of growth factors is largely unknown. Here, we examined the expression profiles of FGF9 in the developing mesonephros of chick embryos at sexually indifferent stages, and found that the expression domain is adjacent to the gonadal primordium. Moreover, FGFR3 (FGF receptor 3) showed a strong expression in the gonadal primordium. Next, we examined the functions of FGF signal during gonadal development with misexpressed FGF9. Interestingly, misexpression of FGF9 led to gonadal expansion through stimulation of cell proliferation. In contrast, treatment with a chemical inhibitor for FGFR decreased cell proliferation and resulted in reduction of the gonadal size. Simultaneously, the treatment resulted in reduction of gonadal marker gene expression. Our study demonstrated that FGF expressed in the developing mesonephros is involved in the development of the gonad at the sexually indifferent stages through stimulation of gonadal cell proliferation and gonadal marker gene expression.

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