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Embryonic vascular development: immunohistochemical identification of the origin and subsequent morphogenesis of the major vessel primordia in quail embryos
J.D. Coffin, T.J. Poole


The development of the embryonic vasculature is examined here using a monoclonal antibody, QH-1, capable of labelling the presumptive endothelial cells of Japanese quail embryos. Antibody labelling is first seen within the embryo proper at the 1-somite stage. Scattered labelling of single cells appears ventral to the somites and at the lateral edges of the anterior intestinal portal. The dorsal aorta soon forms a continuous cord at the ventrolateral edge of the somites and continues into the head to fuse with the ventral aorta forming the first aortic arch by the 6-somite stage. The rudiments of the endocardium fuse at the midline above the anterior intestinal portal by the 3-somite stage and the ventral aorta extends craniad. Intersomitic arteries begin to sprout off of the dorsal aorta at the 7-somite stage. The posterior cardinal vein forms from single cells which segregate from somatic mesoderm at the 7-somite stage to form a loose plexus which moves mediad and wraps around the developing Wolffian duct in later stages. These studies suggest two modes of origin of embryonic blood vessels. The dorsal aortae and cardinal veins apparently arise in situ by the local segregation of presumptive endothelial cells from the mesoderm. The intersomitic arteries, vertebral arteries and cephalic vasculature arise by sprouts from these early vessel rudiments. There also seems to be some cell migration in the morphogenesis of endocardium, ventral aorta and aortic arches. The extent of presumptive endothelial migration in these cases, however, needs to be clarified by microsurgical intervention.