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Methods Cell Sci. 2003;25(3-4):97-104.

An in vitro method for analysis of chondrogenesis in limb mesenchyme from individual transgenic (hdf) embryos.

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Department of Biology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA.


The present study describes a simple, rapid protocol for culture for limb tissue from individual 10.5-day post coitum mouse embryos that supports cartilage differentiation over a six-day period. This technique differs from other commonly used methods utilizing pooled limb tissue in that: 1) forelimbs from individual embryos were used as donor tissue; 2) limb tissue was dissociated by very gentle enzymatic digest (0.1% trypsin, 5 min); and, 3) cell suspensions were plated at a lower density (1 x 10(7) vs. 2 x 10(7) cells/ml) in a reduced volume of 3-5 microl. Under these modified conditions to increase limb cell yield from each embryo, histochemical and immunohistochemical analyses demonstrated reproducible formation of precartilage aggregates and subsequent overt chondrogenesis over a predictable time course. Using this culture protocol, analysis of limb mesenchyme from heterozygous hdf embryos, which bear an insertional mutation of the Cspg2 gene encoding the core protein of the chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan, versican, revealed an overall similar chondrogenic potential to that observed for wild-type littermates. This technique readily enables in vitro culture of limb bud mesenchyme from individual mouse embryos at this developmental stage and may be utilized by investigators to study the effects of the hdf and other transgenic mutations on mammalian limb development in vitro.

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