Epidermal growth factor inhibits morphogenesis of the embryonic quail uropygial gland cultured in vitro
Formation of the uropygial papilla and glandular lumena was inhibited when the uropygial rudiment of a day 8 1/3 quail embryo was cultured for 2 days in a chemically defined medium in the presence of 50 ng/mL of epidermal growth factor (EGF). The epithelium of EGF-treated explants remained at the placode stage, or underwent minor invagination into the mesenchyme and became stratified like that of a 12- or 13-day-old embryo. EGF promoted cellular proliferation in the uropygial epithelium and the epidermis adjacent to the gland and it shortened the lag phase of proliferation and markedly stimulated epithelial DNA synthesis, detected immunocytochemically by labeling explants with 5-bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU). The maximal labeling index in EGF-treated uropygial epithelium was 55% higher than in the control. Electron microscopic observation revealed that the basal lamina had become irregular in the EGF-treated explants and that epithelial cytoplasmic processes penetrated through the basal lamina toward the mesenchyme. These same phenomena are observed in vivo when the glandular buds are formed during day 12–13. Some precocious changes occurred in the uropygial epithelium when the rudiment was cultured in the presence of EGF.
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