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

Pathogenesis of caudal dysgenesis/sirenomelia induced by ochratoxin A in chick embryos.

Caudal dysgenesis/sirenomelia is a malformation complex for which the pathogenesis is controversial. This report describes the particular vulnerability of specific caudal structures to Ochratoxin A (OA), a fungal toxin, as the basis for caudal dysgenesis in an avian model. The experimental procedure involved injection of 1 microgram of OA into the air sac of eggs that had been incubated for 48 hours prior to treatment (i.e., embryos that had reached Hamburger and Hamilton stage 9-10 (6-10 somite pairs) [Hamburger and Hamilton (1951) Dev. Dyn. 195:231-272] by the time of treatment). Six to twelve hours following OA injection, excessive cell death, as shown by vital staining and routine histology, was evident in selected cell populations, including cells of the caudal-most mesoderm (the mesoderm that apparently forms the external genitalia and median infraumbilical region), the tail bud, and the neural tube caudal to the wing buds (corresponding to the level of the presomitic mesoderm). The notochord was not severely affected, although there were degenerative changes in the presomitic mesoderm. Except for positional abnormalities, development of the lateral plate mesoderm from which the leg buds are derived appeared relatively normal in most of the treated embryos. Six days post-treatment, varying degrees of caudal dysgenesis, presenting in severely affected specimens as sirenomelia, were observed in approximately 30% of the surviving treated embryos. The potential basis for the differential vulnerability of the affected cell populations and, therefore, the cellular basis for the genesis of caudal dysgenesis/sirenomelia in this model are discussed.[1]


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