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J Embryol Exp Morphol. 1984 Dec;84:49-62.

The differentiation in vitro of the neural crest cells of the mouse embryo.


A culture method for neural crest cells of mouse embryo is described. Trunk neural tubes were dissected from 9-day mouse embryos and explanted in culture dishes. The developmental potential of mouse neural crest in vitro was shown to be essentially similar to that of avian neural crest. In the mouse, however, melanocytes always appeared in association with the epithelial sheet close to the explant. Neural crest cells surrounding the epithelial sheet, which probably migrated from the neural tubes in the early culture phase, never differentiated into melanocytes. The bimodal behaviour of mouse crest cells seems to be due to the heterogenous potency of the crest cells and the interaction of these cells with the surrounding microenvironment. This culture system is well suited for various experiments including the analysis of gene control on the differentiation of neural crest cells.

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