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GENERAL EMBRYOLOGY. GASTRULATION NOTOCHORD FORMATION. Learning Objectives. To learn about the process of differentiation of embryoblast into bilaminar germ disc. … Early differentiation of trophoblast to form extra embryonic mesoderm and chorionic villi … Formation of amniotic cavity

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  2. Learning Objectives • To learn about the process of differentiation of embryoblast into bilaminar germ disc. • …Early differentiation of trophoblast to form extra embryonic mesoderm and chorionic villi • …Formation of amniotic cavity • …Formation of yolk sac • …Gastrulation process leading to trilaminar germ disc • …Notochord formation and its fate • …derivatives of 3 germ layers

  3. Questions • Bilaminar germ disc • Trilaminar germ disc • Gastrulation • Yolk sac • Notochord • Primitive streak • Extra embryonic mesoderm • Amnion • Chorion • Remnants of notochord • Stem cells

  4. Timeline of events • Bilaminar germ disc – 13 days. • Primitive streak – 15th day. • It regresses by 3rd to 4th week. • Germ disc becomes trilaminarwith the incorporation of intra embryonic mesoderm – 16 days • Disc becomes pear shaped – 18th day • Notochordal process 17-18th day

  5. Week 2: days 7-14implantation • Implanted embryo becomes more deeply embedded in endometrium • Further development of trophoblast into placenta • Development of a bi-laminar embryo, amniotic cavity, and yolk sac.


  7. Implantation and placentation (day 8) Trophoblast further differentiates and invades maternal tissues • Cytotrophoblast: stem cell population • Syncytiotrophoblast: invasive fused cells (syncytium) derived from cytotrophoblast • Breaks maternal capillaries, trophoblastic lacunae fill with maternal blood Inner cell mass divides into epiblast and hypoblast: • Epiblast contributes to forming the overlying amniotic membrane and amniotic cavity • Hypoblast contributes to forming the underlying yolk sac.

  8. Implantation and placentation (day 9)

  9. Implantation and placentation (day 12)

  10. Implantation and placentation (day 13)

  11. Week 3: Days 14-21 • Two layer germ disc • Primitive streak forms • Gastrulation forms tri-laminar embryo • Neural induction • Left-right asymmetry • 0.4mm - 2.0mm

  12. Gastrulation • It is a process by which bilaminar germ disc becomes trilaminar. • Cells proliferate from primitive streak and migrate between 2 layers. • At 2 places the epiblast and hypoblast are tightly adherent – bucco pharyngeal membrane (cranial to prochordal plate) and cloacal membrane.

  13. At gastrulation, primitive endoderm is replaced by definitive or embryonic endoderm then mesoderm is formed


  15. The human embryo at gastrulation

  16. Cell movements during gastrulation

  17. Mesoderm is patterned in a cranial to caudal gradient Axial mesoderm: passes through the node and migrates along the midline –forms the notochord Paraxial mesoderm: passes just caudal to the node and migrates slightly laterally –forms cartilage, skeletal muscle, and dermis Lateral plate mesoderm: passes more caudal and migrates more laterally –forms circulatory system and body cavity linings. Extraembryonic mesoderm: passes most caudal and migrates most laterally –forms extraembryonic membranes and associated connective tissue & blood vessels.

  18. Fate of the “axial” mesoderm The notochord and pre-chordal plate develops from mesoderm arising from cells that passed directly through the node and migrated cranially along the midline The notochord and pre-chordal plate are important signaling centers that pattern the overlying ectoderm and underlying endoderm.

  19. Major signaling centers at gastrulation: the node and the anterior visceral endoderm (AVE) • Primitive node positions primitive streak for gastrulation, induces neural differentiation • AVE from primitive endoderm secretes factors that position primitive streak in posterior, induce head formation

  20. NOTOCHORD • NOTOCHORD IS A SOLID ROD OF CELLS WHICH FORMS THE CORE IN THE MIDLINE OF THE EMBRYO WITHIN INTRAEMBRYONIC MESODERM. • Notochordal process – 17-18th day • Formation of neurenteric canal. • Formation of notochordal plate. • Formation of definitive notochord.


  22. Remnants of notochord • Apical ligament of dens of axis vertebra. • Nucleus pulposus of intervertebral disc.

  23. Derivatives of 3 germ layers

  24. Applied embryology • Situsinversus. • Sacrococcygealteratoma. • Chordoma. • Stem cells

  25. Molecular regulation

  26. Left-Right asymmetry is established at gastrulation Leftward beating of cilia at node moves secreted molecules sonic hedgehog (Shh) & FGF-8 to the left side of embryo. Causes left side genes Nodal and Pitx2 to be expressed which then pattern developing organs. If cilia are defective, Shh and Fgf8 can randomly end up on right side, resulting in reversal of symmetry, aka situs inversus (liver on the left, spleen on the right, etc.) Situscan be complete (everything reversed) or partial (only some organs reversed).

  27. Situs Inversus

  28. What happens if there is “not enough” gastrulation?Caudal agenesis (sirenomelia) Premature regression of the primitive streak leads to widespread loss of trunk and lower limb mesoderm. VATeR association: Vertebral defects Anal atresia Tracheo-esophageal fistula Renal defects VACTeRL association: those above plus… Cardiovascular defects Limb (upper) defects

  29. What happens if there is “too much” gastrulation?Sacrococcygealteratoma If the primitive streak fails to regress, multipotent primitive streak cells can develop into multi-lineage tumors (containing ecto-, meso-, and endodermal tissues).

  30. Sacrococcygealteratoma

  31. Chordoma

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