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Dev Biol. 1987 Mar;120(1):38-49.

Behavior of neural crest cells on embryonic basal laminae.


Neural crest cells separate from the neural epithelium in a region devoid of a basal lamina and migrate along pathways bordered by intact basal laminae. The distribution of basal laminae suggests that they might have an important role in the morphogenesis of the neural crest by acting as a barrier to migration. The experiments reported here have tested directly whether neural crest cells can penetrate a basal lamina. Isolated neural tubes, neural crest cells cultured for 24 hr, or pigmented neural crest cells were explanted onto human placental amnions from which the epithelium had been removed to expose the basal lamina. In no case did neural crest cells or crest derivatives penetrate the basal lamina to invade the underlying stroma. If crest cells were grown on the stromal side of the amnion, they invaded the connective tissue. Pigmented neural crest derivative and [3H]thymidine-labeled nonpigmented crest cells were also confronted with chick embryonic basal laminae by grafting the cells into the lumen of the neural tube at the axial levels where host crest migration had commenced. Most of the grafted cells invaded the neural epithelium and accumulated after 24 hr at the basal surface of the neural tube. A few crest cells escaped through the dorsal surface of the neural tube and entered the overlying ectoderm, presumably through the wound created during the grafting procedure. Some of these grafted cells, located initially by light microscopy, were examined at the higher magnification and resolution offered by the transmission electron microscope to determine the relationship of the grafted cells to the basal lamina. In 50% (14 total) of the cases, the crest cells never reached the basal lamina of the neural tube, but were trapped by cell junctions between the neural epithelial cells. Of the remaining grafted cells that were relocated in the TEM (50%, total 15) all were spread on the basal lamina, but were not seen penetrating it. Likewise, in the three cases where crest cells were found in the epidermal ectoderm, all were in contact with the basal lamina of the ectoderm but did not have any processes extending through it. In three cases, at the level of the light microscope, crest cells were found to extend through the basal surface of the neural tube. In all these instances, the cells followed the dorsal root nerve exiting through a region of the neural tube that is devoid of a basal lamina.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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