Development of dorsal-ventral polarity in the optic vesicle and its presumptive role in eye morphogenesis as shown by embryonic transplantation and in ovo explant culturing

Dev Biol. 2002 Aug 15;248(2):319-30. doi: 10.1006/dbio.2002.0737.


Dorsal and ventral specification in the early optic vesicle appears to play a crucial role in the proper development of the eye. In the present study, we performed embryonic transplantation and organ culturing of the chick optic vesicle in order to investigate how the dorsal-ventral (D-V) polarity is established in the optic vesicle and what role this polarity plays in proper eye development. The left optic vesicle was cut and transplanted inversely in the right eye cavity of host chick embryos. This method ensured that the D-V polarity was reversed while the anteroposterior axis remained normal. The results showed that the location of the choroid fissure was altered from the normal (ventral) to ectopic positions as the embryonic stage of transplantation progressed from 6 to 18 somites. At the same time, the shape of the optic vesicle and the expression patterns of Pax2 and Tbx5, marker genes for ventral and dorsal regions of the optic vesicle, respectively, changed concomitantly in a similar way. The crucial period was between the 8- and 14-somite stages, and during this period the polarity seemed to be gradually determined. In ovo explant culturing of the optic vesicle showed that the D-V polarity and choroid fissure formation were already specified by the 10-somite stage. These results indicate that the D-V polarity of the optic vesicle is established gradually between 8- and 14-somite stages under the influence of signals derived from the midline portion of the forebrain. The presumptive signal(s) appeared to be transmitted from proximal to distal regions within the optic vesicle. A severe anomaly was observed in the development of optic vesicles reversely transplanted around the 10-somite stage: the optic cup formation was disturbed and subsequently the neural retina and pigment epithelium did not develop normally. We concluded that establishment of the D-V polarity in the optic vesicle plays an essential role in the patterning and differentiation of the neural retina and pigment epithelium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning*
  • Chick Embryo
  • Culture Techniques
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Eye / embryology*
  • Eye / transplantation*
  • Fetal Tissue Transplantation*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Morphogenesis
  • PAX2 Transcription Factor
  • T-Box Domain Proteins / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • PAX2 Transcription Factor
  • T-Box Domain Proteins
  • T-box transcription factor 5
  • Transcription Factors