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Head Face Med. 2012 Feb 1;8:2. doi: 10.1186/1746-160X-8-2.

Movement of the external ear in human embryo.

Author information

1
Human Health Science, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, 606-8507, Shogoin Kawahara-cyo 53, Kyoto, Japan.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

External ears, one of the major face components, show an interesting movement during craniofacial morphogenesis in human embryo. The present study was performed to see if movement of the external ears in a human embryo could be explained by differential growth.

METHODS:

In all, 171 samples between Carnegie stage (CS) 17 and CS 23 were selected from MR image datasets of human embryos obtained from the Kyoto Collection of Human Embryos. The three-dimensional absolute position of 13 representative anatomical landmarks, including external and internal ears, from MRI data was traced to evaluate the movement between the different stages with identical magnification. Two different sets of reference axes were selected for evaluation and comparison of the movements.

RESULTS:

When the pituitary gland and the first cervical vertebra were selected as a reference axis, the 13 anatomical landmarks of the face spread out within the same region as the embryo enlarged and changed shape. The external ear did move mainly laterally, but not cranially. The distance between the external and internal ear stayed approximately constant. Three-dimensionally, the external ear located in the caudal ventral parts of the internal ear in CS 17, moved mainly laterally until CS 23. When surface landmarks eyes and mouth were selected as a reference axis, external ears moved from the caudal lateral ventral region to the position between eyes and mouth during development.

CONCLUSION:

The results indicate that movement of all anatomical landmarks, including external and internal ears, can be explained by differential growth. Also, when the external ear is recognized as one of the facial landmarks and having a relative position to other landmarks such as the eyes and mouth, the external ears seem to move cranially.

PMID:
22296782
PMCID:
PMC3286420
DOI:
10.1186/1746-160X-8-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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