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The development and distribution of the cranial neural crest in the rat embryo

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The head region of rat embryos was investigated by scanning electron microscopy after removal of the surface ectoderm with adhesive tape. Observations were made in embryos from 6-somite to 11-somite stages of development, in order to determine: (1) the sequence of emigration of neural crest cells from the different regions of the future brain; (2) the appearance of crest cells before, during, and after their conversion from an epithelial to a mesenchymal form; (3) the migration pathways.

Emigration occurs first from the midbrain, and next from the rostral hindbrain; crest cells from these two regions migrate into the first visceral arch. Subsequently cells emigrate from the caudal hindbrain, but not in a rostrocaudal sequence. At the time of crest cell emigration, the neural fold morphology varies from a slightly convex, widely open plate (midbrain) to a closed tube (caudal hindbrain). Thus the timing of emigration is related neither to age (as reflected in rostrocaudal levels) nor to morphology of the neural epithelium.

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Correspondence to Seong Seng Tan.

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Tan, S.S., Morriss-Kay, G. The development and distribution of the cranial neural crest in the rat embryo. Cell Tissue Res. 240, 403–416 (1985). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00222353

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Key words

  • Cranial neural crest
  • Emigration
  • Rat embryo