Use of the L-proline analog, L-azetidine-2-carboxylic acid (LACA) to analyse embryonic growth and determination and expression of the chondrogenic phenotype in vivo and in vitro



The L-proline analog, L-azetidine-2-carboxylic acid, (LACA) was injected into embryonated eggs of the common fowl, Gallus domesticus at daily doses of 350 μg/egg on one or several days between 8 and 12 days of incubation. Treatment at nine-days of incubation preferentially retarded embryonic growth to the twelfth day but recovery of growth rate occurred by 15 days of incubation. Relationships between growth and LACA-inhibited aspects of collagenogenesis are discussed.

The earliest aged embryos from which isolated stem cells from membrane bones will form secondary cartilage is ten days of incubation. Secondary chondro-genesis on the quadratojugal, a membrane bone of the skull, was inhibited by treatment of whole embryos with LACA at nine days of incubation but not by treatment at eight days. We concluded that an event involving collagen began at nine days of incubation, was blocked by LACA, and was part of the process of chondrogenic determination of these stem cells. Addition of LACA to the medium in which already determined stem cells from the quadratojugal were cultured prevented expression of the chondrogenic phenotype. This proline analog is then a useful probe for events relating both to determination and to expression of the differentiated state, and allows conclusions to be drawn regarding the role of col-lagenogenesis in these events.