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Dev Dyn. 1993 Oct;198(2):86-96.

Role of the brachial somites in the development of the appendicular musculature in rat embryos.

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Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin.


DiI, a fluorescent lipophilic dye, was micro-injected into the brachial somites of 10.5 day rat embryos to determine whether these somites can contribute cells to the development of the fore-limb bud. The injected embryos were cultured and harvested at the 20-25-somite stage. The dye did not interfere with somitogenesis because, at the injection site, the DiI-labelled somites were able to differentiate into dermomyotome and sclerotome. We have analyzed cryo-sections of 20-21-somite stage embryos and were unable detect the presence of DiI-labelled cells in the fore-limb buds. However, at the 22-somite stage, a few DiI-positive cells were found in the proximal region of the limb bud. These labelled cells had migrated into the limb from the lateral border of the dermomyotome. From the 23-somite stage onwards, there were even more DiI-positive cells inside the limb. We have performed an additional set of experiments to confirm that the somitic cells do have the ability to invade and colonize the limb bud. This was achieved by first labelling newly formed somites isolated from the caudal region of 10.5 day embryos with DiI and then grafting them into corresponding regions in 8-11-somite stage hosts. The donor somites were not orientated when they were implanted into the host. However, this did not disrupt their ability to undergo normal somitogenesis. We have detected the presence of DiI-positive cells in the limb buds of approximately 71% of the 19-30-somite stage embryos that have been examined. This is similar to what we obtained for the injected embryos. Nevertheless, there is one slight difference and that is the stage the somitic cells begin their invasion of the limb. For the injected embryos, migration began at the 22-somite stage but in the transplanted embryos, it commenced as early as the 18-somite stage. We have also investigated the myogenic potential of the fore-limb bud at various stages of development to ascertain whether there is a correlation between the stage the somitic cells first appear in the limb bud and the stage the bud acquires the capacity to form skeletal muscles. This was realized by culturing fore-limb buds excised from 18-30-somite stage embryos conventionally and in the kidney capsules of adult rats. In both methods, bone and cartilage were present in all of the cultures whereas skeletal muscles were only present in cultured explants older than the 21-22-somite stage.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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