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Anat Embryol (Berl). 1994 Sep;190(3):243-50.

The fate of somitocoele cells in avian embryos.

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Anatomisches Institut II, Albert-Ludwigs-Universit├Ąt Freiburg, Germany.


The early somite of avian embryos is made up of an epithelial wall and mesenchymal cells located within the somitocoele. We have studied the fate of somitocoele cells for a period of up to 6 days, using the quail-chick marker technique. We also applied the QH-1 antibody, which specifically stains hemangiopoietic cells of quail origin, and studied the proliferative activity of epithelial somites with the BrdU anti-BrdU method. Our results show that somitocoele cells mainly give rise to the ribs and peripheral parts of the intervertebral discs. After 1 and 2 days of reincubation, the grafted somitocoele cells were located in the lateral part of the sclerotome, and only a few cells migrated axially towards the notochord. In frontal sections, the cells were located in a triangular area within the cranial part of the caudal sclerotome half. After 3 days of reincubation, some of the cells had migrated cranially along the myotome. After longer reincubation periods, cells grafted into one somite could be found in two adjacent ribs. The studies with the QH-1 antibody show that a subpopulation of somitocoele cells has angiogenic potency. Endothelial cells originating from the mesenchyme of the somitocoele migrated actively and even invaded the ipsilateral half of the neural tube. In the epithelial wall of the somite, BrdU-labelled nuclei were found basally, whereas more apically the nuclei were not stained, but mitotic figures were frequently present. The somitocoele cells also showed a high proliferative activity with about 26% of nuclei labelled with BrdU.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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