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In vitro chondrogenesis of limb and craniofacial mesenchyme

Jill Flemming and Marie Nickle, F&M College, Class of 2001


In the proposed research, we will examine the effects retinoic acid (RA) and poly-l-lysine have on inducing the cells of the craniofacial region to undergo chondrogenesis.

The general area of research associated with our project is chondrogenesis in chick embryos. Chondrogenesis occurs in three stages. They are mesenchyme proliferation, condensation of the precartilagenous mesenchyme, and differentiation of the chondrocyte (Gilbert 1997). The initiation of cartilage formation occurs when the dividing precartilagenous mesenchyme cells of the embryo begin expressing extracellular matrix proteins that tell them to condense into nodules (Gilbert 1997). The cells in these nodules become chondrocytes and begin secreting the proteoglycans and collagen necessary for cartilage formation (Gilbert 1997).

Though the basic process of chondrogenesis is common to all cartilage, different cartilaginous cells exhibit both intrinsic and induced variations of these processes (Smith, 1998). Each type of cartilage forming region exhibits different patterns and amounts of cartilage. Studies have been performed to compare chondrogenesis of leg and wing mesenchyme to the craniofacial regions of the chick.

Wedden et al. recognized the striking parallels between chondrogenic patterns of cells from the face and limb buds in culture(1986). For example, cultures of facial cells and limb bud cells both visually and cellularly resemble each other. Both cultures contain a mixture of committed and uncommitted cells. However, no experiments have been performed which test the effects of RA and poly-l-lysine on chondrogenesis in the craniofacial region of the chick, especially in comparison to the limbs.

©Cebra-Thomas, 2000

Last Modified: 2 May 2000

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