A mesenchyme-free culture system to elucidate the mechanism of otic vesicle morphogenesis

Takashi Miura, Kohei Shiota, Gillian Morriss-Kay

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9 Citations (Scopus)


The vertebrate inner ear has been extensively studied as a model system of morphogenesis and differentiation. The interactions between epithelium and surrounding mesenchyme have not previously been studied directly, because an appropriate experimental system had not been established. Here we describe a mesenchyme-free culture system of E11.5 mouse otic vesicle which retains the ability for (1) formation of the cochlear loop, (2) emigration of ganglion cells from the epithelium and (3) invagination of semicircular canal epithelium. E10.5 otic vesicle was maintained using the same method, but morphogenesis was less successful. Culture of the E11.5 cochlear region alone resulted in regeneration of a structure with semicircular canal character from the cut end, indicating that region-specific cell fate within the otic vesicle is not irreversibly determined at this stage. Co-culturing otic vesicle with cochleovestibular ganglion (CVG) resulted in enhanced looping or ectopic diverticulum formation of the cochlear region, suggesting that the CVG provides a morphogenetic signal for cochlear looping. Cochlear looping was specifically blocked by inhibiting actin polymerization by cytochalasin D, while morphogenesis of the semicircular canal region remained intact. Hyaluronidase treatment inhibited semicircular canal morphogenesis, resulting in a cystic form of the otic vesicle. These data validate this culture system as a tool for elucidating the mechanism of morphogenesis of the otic vesicle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-312
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Anatomy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Histology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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