Journal Article The Digestive Tract and Derived Primordia Differentiate by Following a Precise Timeline in Human Embryos Between Carnegie Stages 11 and 13

Ueno, Saki  ,  Yamada, Shigehito  ,  Uwabe, Chigako  ,  Männer, Jörg  ,  Shiraki, Naoto  ,  Takakuwa, Tetsuya

299 ( 4 )  , pp.439 - 449 , 2016-04 , Blackwell Publishing Inc.
The precise mechanisms through which the digestive tract develops during the somite stage remain undefined. In this study, we examined the morphology and precise timeline of differentiation of digestive tract-derived primordia in human somite-stage embryos. We selected 37 human embryos at Carnegie Stage (CS) 11-CS13 (28-33 days after fertilization) and three-dimensionally analyzed the morphology and positioning of the digestive tract and derived primordia in all samples, using images reconstructed from histological serial sections. The digestive tract was initially formed by a narrowing of the yolk sac, and then several derived primordia such as the pharynx, lung, stomach, liver, and dorsal pancreas primordia differentiated during CS12 (21-29 somites) and CS13 (≥ 30 somites). The differentiation of four pairs of pharyngeal pouches was complete in all CS13 embryos. The respiratory primordium was recognized in≥26-somite embryos and it flattened and then branched at CS13. The trachea formed and then elongated in≥35-somite embryos. The stomach adopted a spindle shape in all≥34-somite embryos, and the liver bud was recognized in≥27-somite embryos. The dorsal pancreas appeared as definitive buddings in all but three CS13 embryos, and around these buddings, the small intestine bent in≥33-somite embryos. In≥35-somite embryos, the small intestine rotated around the cranial-caudal axis and had begun to form a primitive intestinal loop, which led to umbilical herniation. These data indicate that the digestive tract and derived primordia differentiate by following a precise timeline and exhibit limited individual variations.

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