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Roux Arch Dev Biol. 1991 Sep;200(4):188-192. doi: 10.1007/BF00361336.

Vital labelling of somite-derived myogenic cells in the chicken limb bud.

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Division of Cell Biology, National Institute of Neuroscience, NCNP, 4-1-1 Ogawahigashi, 187, Kodaira, Tokyo, Japan.


In order to understand how myogenic cells migrate in the limb bud, it is indispensable to distinguish undifferentiated myogenic cells from other mesenchymal cells. Thus, a suitable method for this purpose has been sought. A method to exchange the somites of a chicken and a quail microsurgically has widely been used, since the nuclei of the two species are morphologically distinguishable. However, microsurgery is accompanied by disturbances at the operated locus, and introducing cells of different species might induce unexpected effects. We report a new method for labelling chicken myogenic cells without transplantational operations, and describe their migration pattern in limb buds. Injection of a fluorescent carbocyanine dye into the somite lumen intensely labelled the somitic cells. Myogenic cells derived from the somite were clearly detected in limb buds. Before stage 20, the labelled cells were diffusely distributed in the proximal region of the limb bud. At about stage 21 in both wing and leg buds, labelled cells began to form dorsal and ventral masses. The label was followed until the cells differentiated and expressed myosin. This vital labelling method has advantages over the somite transplantation method: it does not include surgical operations that may disturb the normal development, and the cells are labelled intensely enough to be detected in a whole mount preparation.


Limb morphogenesis; Migration; Muscle; Myogenesis; Vital staining


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