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Abstract

It has been demonstrated that the septation of the outflow tract of the heart is formed by the cardiac neural crest. Ablation of this region of the neural crest prior to its migration from the neural fold results in anomalies of the outflow and inflow tracts of the heart and the aortic arch arteries. The objective of this study was to examine the migration and distribution of these neural crest cells from the pharyngeal arches into the outflow region of the heart during avian embryonic development. Chimeras were constructed in which each region of the premigratory cardiac neural crest from quail embryos was implanted into the corresponding area in chick embryos. The transplantations were done unilaterally on each side and bilaterally. The quail-chick chimeras were sacrificed between Hamburger-Hamilton stages 18 and 25, and the pharyngeal region and outflow tract were examined in serial paraffin sections to determine the distribution pattern of quail cells at each stage. The neural crest cells derived from the presumptive arch 3 and 4 regions of the neuraxis occupied mainly pharyngeal arches 3 and 4 respectively, although minor populations could be seen in pharyngeal arches 2 and 6. The neural crest cells migrating from the presumptive arch 6 region were seen mainly in pharyngeal arch 6, but they also populated pharyngeal arches 3 and 4. Clusters of quail neural crest cells were found in the distal outflow tract at stage 23.