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Mech Dev. 1998 Sep;77(1):19-30.

Spatio-temporal expression of FGFR 1, 2 and 3 genes during human embryo-fetal ossification.

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INSERM U 393 and Département de Génétique, Assistance Publique - Hôpitaux de Paris, Groupe Hospitalier Necker Enfants Malades, 149 rue de Sèvres, 75743, Paris Cedex 15, France.


Mutations in FGFR 1-3 genes account for various human craniosynostosis syndromes, while dwarfism syndromes have been ascribed exclusively to FGFR 3 mutations. However, the exact role of FGFR 1-3 genes in human skeletal development is not understood. Here we describe the expression pattern of FGFR 1-3 genes during human embryonic and fetal endochondral and membranous ossification. In the limb bud, FGFR 1 and FGFR 2 are initially expressed in the mesenchyme and in epidermal cells, respectively, but FGFR 3 is undetectable. At later stages, FGFR 2 appears as the first marker of prechondrogenic condensations. In the growing long bones, FGFR 1 and FGFR 2 transcripts are restricted to the perichondrium and periosteum, while FGFR 3 is mainly expressed in mature chondrocytes of the cartilage growth plate. Marked FGFR 2 expression is also observed in the periarticular cartilage. Finally, membranous ossification of the skull vault is characterized by co-expression of the FGFR 1-3 genes in preosteoblasts and osteoblasts. In summary, the simultaneous expression of FGFR 1-3 genes in cranial sutures might explain their involvement in craniosynostosis syndromes, whereas the specific expression of FGFR 3 in chondrocytes does correlate with the involvement of FGFR 3 mutations in inherited defective growth of human long bones.

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