Background: Retinoic acid (RA) is a vitamin A derivative. Exposure to exogenous RA generates congenital limb malformations (CLMs) in species from frogs to humans. These CLMs include but are not limited to oligodactyly and long-bone hypoplasia. The processes by which exogenous RA induces CLMs in mammals have been best studied in mouse, but as of yet remain unresolved. Methods: We investigated the impact of exogenous RA on the cellular and molecular development of the limbs of a nonrodent model mammal, the opossum Monodelphis domestica. Opossums exposed to exogenous retinoic acid display CLMs including oligodactly, and results are consistent with opossum development being more susceptible to RA-induced disruptions than mouse development. Results: Exposure of developing opossums to exogenous RA leads to an increase in cell death in the limb mesenchyme that is most pronounced in the zone of polarizing activity, and a reduction in cell proliferation throughout the limb mesenchyme. Exogenous RA also disrupts the expression of Shh in the zone of polarizing activity, and Fgf8 in the apical ectodermal ridge, and other genes with roles in the regulation of limb development and cell death. Conclusion: Results are consistent with RA inducing CLMs in opossum limbs by disrupting the functions of the apical ectodermal ridge and zone of polarizing activity, and driving an increase in cell death and reduction of cell proliferation in the mesenchyme of the developing limb.
|Number of pages
|Birth Defects Research Part A - Clinical and Molecular Teratology
|Published - Mar 1 2015
- Limb development
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental Biology