A Wnt5a pathway underlies outgrowth of multiple structures in the vertebrate embryo.
Morphogenesis depends on the precise control of basic cellular processes such as cell proliferation and differentiation. Wnt5a may regulate these processes since it is expressed in a gradient at the caudal end of the growing embryo during gastrulation, and later in the distal-most aspect of several structures that extend from the body. A loss-of-function mutation of Wnt5a leads to an inability to extend the A-P axis due to a progressive reduction in the size of caudal structures. In the limbs, truncation of the proximal skeleton and absence of distal digits correlates with reduced proliferation of putative progenitor cells within the progress zone. However, expression of progress zone markers, and several genes implicated in distal outgrowth and patterning including Distalless, Hoxd and Fgf family members was not altered. Taken together with the outgrowth defects observed in the developing face, ears and genitals, our data indicates that Wnt5a regulates a pathway common to many structures whose development requires extension from the primary body axis. The reduced number of proliferating cells in both the progress zone and the primitive streak mesoderm suggests that one function of Wnt5a is to regulate the proliferation of progenitor cells. (+info)
The homeobox gene Pitx2: mediator of asymmetric left-right signaling in vertebrate heart and gut looping.
Left-right asymmetry in vertebrates is controlled by activities emanating from the left lateral plate. How these signals get transmitted to the forming organs is not known. A candidate mediator in mouse, frog and zebrafish embryos is the homeobox gene Pitx2. It is asymmetrically expressed in the left lateral plate mesoderm, tubular heart and early gut tube. Localized Pitx2 expression continues when these organs undergo asymmetric looping morphogenesis. Ectopic expression of Xnr1 in the right lateral plate induces Pitx2 transcription in Xenopus. Misexpression of Pitx2 affects situs and morphology of organs. These experiments suggest a role for Pitx2 in promoting looping of the linear heart and gut. (+info)
Family study of inherited syndrome with multiple congenital deformities: symphalangism, carpal and tarsal fusion, brachydactyly, craniosynostosis, strabismus, hip osteochondritis.
A syndrome of brachydactyly (absence of some middle or distal phalanges), aplastic or hypoplastic nails, symphalangism (ankylois of proximal interphalangeal joints), synostosis of some carpal and tarsal bones, craniosynostosis, and dysplastic hip joints is reported in five members of an Italian family. It may represent a previously undescribed autosomal dominant trait. (+info)
Amelioration of TCDD-induced teratogenesis in aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR)-null mice.
The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) mediates many of the biological effects of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) and transcriptional activation of genes encoding a number of xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes. Prenatal exposure of mice to TCDD causes severe alterations in embryo and fetal development, including hydronephrosis and cleft palate. However, the mechanisms underlying these effects are unclear. In this work, the teratogenicity of TCDD in AhR-null mice was evaluated to determine if this effect is mediated by the AhR. Homozygous wild-type (+/+) or AhR-null (-/-) female mice were mated with males of the same genotype overnight. On gestation day (GD)-10, mice were intubated orally with either corn oil (vehicle control) or 25 micrograms/kg TCDD. Fetuses were examined on GD18 for visceral and skeletal alterations. For non-TCDD-exposed litters, all developmental endpoints were comparable between genotypes, with the exception of a lower incidence of large interfrontal bones in (-/-) mice. For TCDD-exposed litters, (+/+) fetuses had a significantly greater incidence of cleft palate, hydronephrosis, small kidneys, tortuous ureters and greater dilation of the renal pelves and ureters compared to (-/-) fetuses. Interestingly, an increased resorption rate was observed in (-/-) fetuses exposed to TCDD. Results from this work demonstrate that fetal development per se is generally unaffected by the absence of the AhR or that other genes may have compensated for the loss of the AhR. More importantly, these data indicate that the AhR mediates TCDD-induced teratogenicity. Further, since a higher percentage of resorptions was observed in (-/-) litters from TCDD-treated dams, it is possible that AhR-independent mechanisms contribute to TCDD-induced developmental toxicity. (+info)
Townes-Brocks syndrome (TBS) is an autosomal dominant disorder with multiple malformations and variable expression. Major findings include external ear anomalies, hearing loss, preaxial polydactyly and triphalangeal thumbs, imperforate anus, and renal malformations. Most patients with Townes-Brocks syndrome have normal intelligence, although mental retardation has been noted in a few. (+info)
A new lethal syndrome of exomphalos, short limbs, and macrogonadism.
We report a new lethal multiple congenital abnormality (MCA) syndrome of exomphalos, short limbs, nuchal web, macrogonadism, and facial dysmorphism in seven fetuses (six males and one female) belonging to three unrelated families. X rays showed enlarged and irregular metaphyses with a heterogeneous pattern of mineralisation of the long bones. Pathological examination showed adrenal cytomegaly, hyperplasia of Leydig cells, ovarian stroma cells, and Langherans cells, and renal microcysts. We suggest that this condition is a new autosomal recessive MCA syndrome different from Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, especially as no infracytogenetic deletion or uniparental disomy of chromosome 11 was found. (+info)
Isolation and embryonic expression of the novel mouse gene Hic1, the homologue of HIC1, a candidate gene for the Miller-Dieker syndrome.
The human gene HIC1 (hypermethylated in cancer) maps to chromosome 17p13.3 and is deleted in the contiguous gene disorder Miller-Dieker syndrome (MDS) [Makos-Wales et al. (1995) Nature Med., 1, 570-577; Chong et al. (1996) Genome Res., 6, 735-741]. We isolated the murine homologue Hic1, encoding a zinc-finger protein with a poxvirus and zinc-finger (POZ) domain and mapped it to mouse chromosome 11 in a region exhibiting conserved synteny to human chromosome 17. Comparison of genomic and cDNA sequences predicts two exons for the murine Hic1. The second exon exhibits 88% identity to the human HIC1 on DNA level. During embryonic development, Hic1 is expressed in mesenchymes of the sclerotomes, lateral body wall, limb and cranio-facial regions embedding the outgrowing peripheral nerves during their differentiation. During fetal development, Hic1 additionally is expressed in mesenchymes apposed to precartilaginous condensations, at many interfaces to budding epithelia of inner organs, and weakly in muscles. We observed activation of Hic1 expression in the embryonic anlagen of many tissues displaying anomalies in MDS patients. Besides lissencephaly, MDS patients exhibit facial dysmorphism and frequently additional birth defects, e.g. anomalies of the heart, kidney, gastrointestinal tract and the limbs (OMIM 247200). Thus, HIC1 activity may correlate with the defective development of the nose, jaws, extremities, gastrointestinal tract and kidney in MDS patients. (+info)
Comparison of prenatal ultrasound and postmortem findings in fetuses and infants with congenital heart defects.
OBJECTIVE: Detection of congenital heart defects by prenatal ultrasound examination has been one of the great challenges since the investigation for fetal anomalies became part of the routine fetal examination. This prospective study was designed to evaluate the concordance of prenatal ultrasound findings with autopsy examination in a population consisting of both referred women and non-selected pregnant women. DESIGN: Criteria for inclusion were an ultrasound examination at the National Center for Fetal Medicine and an autopsy performed during the years 1985-94. Results from the ultrasound and autopsy examinations were systematized into categories depending on the degree of concordance. RESULTS: Of 408 infants and fetuses with developmental anomalies, 106 (26%) had congenital heart defects. In 63 (59%) of these 106 cases, the heart defect was the principal reason for the termination of pregnancy or the cause of death. Excluding five cases with a secundum atrial septal defect, there was complete agreement between the ultrasound examination and the autopsy findings in 74 (73%) of 101 cases. In 18 cases, there were minor discrepancies between ultrasound and autopsy findings. The main diagnosis was thus correct in 92 cases (91%). From the first time period (1985-89) to the second (1990-94), the detection rate of all heart defects increased from 48% to 82%. CONCLUSION: This study confirms a good correlation between ultrasound and autopsy diagnoses in fetuses and infants with congenital heart defects. A significant improvement in the detection of heart defects occurred from the first time period to the second and was probably due to increased experience and technical advances. (+info)