Differentiation of the anterior body wall and truncal epidermis and associated co-migration of cutaneous nerves and mesenchyme
Munger, G.T.; Munger, B.L.
Anatomical Record 231(2): 261-274
ISSN/ISBN: 0003-276X PMID: 1836119 DOI: 10.1002/ar.1092310214
The present study examines the relationship between the migration of mesenchyme and associated cutaneous nerves that are involved in the closure of the anterior body wall in embryonic mice and rats by light and electron microscopy. The sternum is formed by the migration of condensations of mesenchyme originating in the dorsolateral body wall known as sternal bands. In the course of analyzing this process in rodent embryos we have identified similar paired caudal extensions of the sternal bands that are responsible for the closure of the abdominal wall following resolution of the umbilical hernia, and we suggest these bands of mesoderm should be referred to as the abdominal bands. Both the sternal and abdominal bands are associated with the development of the segmental spinal nerves and their cutaneous terminal branches. The first cutaneous nerve to reach the skin surface in rats is the later cutaneous nerve (PCN and ACN) at E13.5 days. The ACN co-migrates with the sternal and abdominal bands, and terminal branches of axons from the ACN approach the epidermis during this migration. Differentiation of the epidermis could be recognized as a change in shape of epidermal cells from squamous to cuboidal, and this initial differentiation coincides with the onset of cutaneous innervation, beginning at the site of the LCN and following the extent of innervation of the PCN as well as the migration of the mesodermal bands and associated ACN. The paired ACN's meet in the ventral midline at E16.5 in rats as the sternal bands fuse, and terminal axons from both nerves densely innervate the midline skin.