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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Apoptosis in normal rat embryo tissues during early organogenesis: the possible involvement of Bax and Bcl-2.

Apoptosis commonly occurs in a variety of developmental processes in mammals. In this study, we investigated the relationship between apoptosis and the expression of both Bax and Bcl-2 during the early organogenesis period (9.5-11.5 days of gestation) of rat embryos. Apoptotic cells detected by the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated nick-end labeling (TUNEL) method were extremely abundant in the foregut diverticulum at 9.5 days of gestation, while they largely disappeared at 10.5 and 11.5 days of gestation, although they were detected in newly formed mid- and hindgut diverticulum at these times. Real-time RT-PCR analysis of whole embryos revealed that the expression of bax mRNA was constant at days 9.5 to 11.5, while the expression of bcl-2 mRNA gradually increased. Immunohistochemical studies of Bax and Bcl-2 expression revealed that these apoptotic cells were exactly positive to Bax in mirror sections, while their expression of Bcl-2 was generally too low to be detected. A disappearance of apoptotic cells was associated with strong Bcl-2 expression in the foregut diverticulum at 10.5 and 11.5 days of gestation. It was similarly observed that apoptotic cells detected in the cardiogenic area at 9.5 days of gestation disappeared with the formation of the primitive heart tube--accompanied by a strong expression of both Bcl-2 and Bax--in the developmental process of the primitive heart. Apoptotic cells were also observed in the primitive brain vesicle, optic vesicle, otic vesicle, and thyroid primordium at 10.5 and 11.5 days of gestation during the developmental process, with a strong expression of Bax. These results indicate that the Bax and Bcl-2 may be important in regulating the induction of embryonic cell apoptosis during early organogenesis.[1]


  1. Apoptosis in normal rat embryo tissues during early organogenesis: the possible involvement of Bax and Bcl-2. Sun, F., Akazawa, S., Sugahara, K., Kamihira, S., Kawasaki, E., Eguchi, K., Koji, T. Arch. Histol. Cytol. (2002) [Pubmed]
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