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Keywords:

  • cell migration;
  • chick embryo;
  • neural crest;
  • pharyngeal arches;
  • vagal crest

The developing hind-brain of vertebrates consists of segmental units called rhombomeres. Although crest cells emigrate from the hind-brain, they are subsequently subdivided into several cell populations that are attached to restricted regions of the hind-brain. At the preotic level, only even-numbered rhombomeres are accompanied by crest cells, while the odd-numbered ones are not. At the postotic level, such the birhombomeric repetition becomes obscure. In order to map the origins and distributions of postotic crest cells, focal injections of Dil were made into various axial levels of the postotic neural tube. Cephalic crest cells at the postotic level first form a single cell population deposited by cells along the dorsolateral pathway. They are called the circumpharyngeal crest cells (CP cells) and are secondarily subdivided into each pharyngeal arch ectomesenchyme. The neural tube extending from r5 to the somite 3/4 boundary gave rise to CP cells. The neuraxial origins of each pharyngeal ectomesenchyme extended for more than three somite lengths, most of which overlapped with the other. Unlike in the preotic region, there is no segmental registration between neuraxial levels and pharyngeal arches. Caudal portions of the CP cell population show a characteristic distribution pattern that circumscribes the postotic pharyngeal arches caudally. Heterotopic transplantation of the Dil-labeled neural crest into the somite 3 level resulted in a distribution of labeled cells similar to that of CP cells, suggesting that the pattern of distribution depends upon dynamic modification of the body wall associated with pharyngeal arch formation.