The contribution of both forebrain and midbrain crest cells to the mesenchyme in the frontonasal mass of mouse embryos

Noriko Osumi-Yamashita, Youichirou Ninomiya, Hirofumi Doi, Kazuhiro Eto

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Migration of cranial neural crest cells is a crucial event in the formation of facial organs such as the frontonasal mass and branchial arches. However, the source of the populating crest cells that occupy the frontonasal mass remains unclear in mammalian embryos. To elucidate this, we performed focal DiI injections at various sites in the prosencephalon (forebrain, including the future telencephalon and diencephalon), mesencephalon (midbrain), and the anterior part of the rhombencephalon (hindbrain) separated posteriorly by the preotic sulcus (i.e., rhombomere A; future rhombomere 1 and 2) of cultured mouse embryos from the 3- to 10-somite stage. Results directly revealed that during these stages the lateral edge of the prosencephalon produced crest cells which migrated to the frontonasal mass. On the other hand, labeled cells at the anterior neural ridge in the prosencephalon contributed mainly to the head epithelium, including the nasal placode, Rathke’s pouch, and oral epithelium. As for the crest cells of the mesencephalon and rhombomere A, their destinations were significantly dependent on the injection site and somite stage. At the 3- to 4-somite stage, the crest cells emigrating from both the mesencephalon and rhombomere A migrated to the first branchial arch. Moreover, the mesencephalic region, but never rhombomere A, produced another group of crest cells that migrated to the frontonasal mass. In the 5- to 10-somite stage, the destinations of late-emigrating crest cells were restricted depending on their premigratory positions, i.e., the region producing crest cells migrating toward the frontonasal mass was restricted to the anterior portion of the mesencephalon, and the crest cells from the posterior portion of the mesencephalon primarily migrated to the first branchial arch, while those from the rhombomere A predominantly migrated to the trigeminal ganglion. Migration toward the frontonasal mass from the mesencephalon ceased at the earliest in the 7-somite stage, followed by termination of mesencephalic and rhombencephalic crest cell migration toward the first branchial arch at the 8-somite stage, whereas the contribution from rhombomere A to the trigeminal ganglion continued even at the 10-somite stage. This behavior suggests that both the prosencephalic and mesencephalic crest contribute to the mesenchymal cells in the frontonasal mass and also that the migration patterns of crest cells released from the prosencephalon, mesencephalon, and rhombencephalon depend on their axial level and developmental stage at initial emigration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-419
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1994 Aug
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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