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Dev Biol. 1987 Feb;119(2):520-31.

A quantitative analysis of cell allocation to trophectoderm and inner cell mass in the mouse blastocyst.


The allocation of cells to the trophectoderm and inner cell mass (ICM) in the mouse blastocyst has been examined by labelling early morulae (16-cell stage) with the short-term cell lineage marker yellow-green fluorescent latex (FL) microparticles. FL is endocytosed exclusively into the outside polar cell population and remains autonomous to the progeny of these blastomeres. Rhodamine-concanavalin A was used as a contemporary marker for outside cells in FL-labelled control (16-cell stage) and cultured (approximately 32- to 64-cell stage) embryos, immediately prior to the disaggregation and analysis of cell labelling patterns. By this technique, the ratio of outside to inside cell numbers in 16-cell embryos was shown to vary considerably between embryos (mean 10.8:5.2; range 9:7 to 14:2). In cultured embryos, the trophectoderm was derived almost exclusively (over 99% cells) from outside polar 16-cell blastomeres. The origin of the ICM varied between embryos; on average, most cells (75%) were descended from inside nonpolar blastomeres with the remainder derived from the outside polar lineage, presumably by differentiative cleavage. In blastocysts examined by serial sectioning, polar-derived ICM cells were localised mainly in association with trophectoderm and were absent from the ICM core. In nascent blastocysts with exactly 32 cells an inverse relationship was found between the proportion of the ICM descended from the polar lineage and the deduced size of the inside 16-cell population. From these results, it is concluded that interembryonic variation in the outside to inside cell number ratio in 16-cell morulae is compensated by the extent of polar 16-cell allocation to the ICM at the next division, thereby regulating the trophectoderm to ICM cell number ratio in early blastocysts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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