Cultures of the hepatic bud, under different experimental conditions, show a direct relation between foetal age at the time of dissection and the further organogenesis of the explant. In cultures of the septum transversum plus hepatic bud—with or without splanchnic mesenchyme—obtained from embryos of four to 25 somites, the capacity of endodermic cells to differentiate into hepatocytes appears only in a small number of samples; whereas, in the hepatic bud from older embryos (26 to 40 somites), this differentiation occurs in all cases.
The amount of time cultures were allowed to grow was important for hepatic organogenesis, as measured by cord-like organization of hepatocytes plus their storage capacity for glycogen. The possibility of the explants showing complete haemopoiesis was also a condition of foetal age at the time of explant. Haemopoiesis was not found in cultures from embryos of less than 25 somites. On the other hand, development of haemopoiesis did not show a direct relation to days of culture, since the peak of this activity was observed towards the third day in vitro. Most explants showed a generalized haemopoiesis (both interstitial and vascular) with a decay towards the sixth day.
Endodermal cells of the hepatic bud were capable of both proliferation and differentiation into hepatocytes, even in those mesenchymes considered inadequate such as limb mesenchyme. In the latter case we were unable to find haemopoiesis at any time. The septum transversum, when cultured alone, did not contain haemopoietic cells.