Smooth muscle actin expression during rat gut development and induction in fetal skin fibroblastic cells associated with intestinal embryonic epithelium

Differentiation. 1990 Apr;43(2):87-97. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-0436.1990.tb00434.x.


Cytodifferentiation of smooth muscle cells has been analyzed immunocytochemically during rat intestinal development and in chimaeric intestines by using monoclonal antibodies reacting specifically with smooth muscle actin species (CGA7 [10] and anti-alpha SM-1 [40]). As development proceeds, the various intestinal muscle layers differentiate in the following order: (1) cells expressing smooth muscle actin appear within the mesenchyme of the 15-day fetal rat intestine, in the circular muscle-forming area, the differentiation of cells in the presumptive longitudinal muscle layer starting with a 48-h delay; (2) smooth muscle fibers appear within the connective tissue core of the villi shortly after birth, in parallel with a progressive formation of the muscularis mucosae, which becomes clear-cut only in the course of the 2nd week after birth; (3) a distinct cell layer in the innermost part of the circular muscle layer arises during the perinatal period. Thereafter, the fluorescence pattern remains unchanged until the adult stage. Chimaeric intestines were constructed by the association of 14-day fetal intestinal epithelium and cultured fetal rat or human skin fibroblasts. These fibroblastic cells did not express actin at the time at which they were associated. The immunocytochemical analysis of smooth muscle actin in the hybrid intestines, which had developed as intracoelomic grafts for 12 days, revealed that the skin fibroblastic cells had been induced by the intestinal epithelial cells to differentiate into smooth muscle cells. Such a result was also obtained with allantoic endoderm. It was not obvious in cocultures of intestinal epithelium with skin fibroblastic cells. However, when intestinal epithelial cells were cocultured with intestinal mesenchymal cells, actin expression was stimulated in the latter cell population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Actins / pharmacology
  • Actins / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cell Communication / physiology
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Digestive System / cytology
  • Digestive System / embryology*
  • Digestive System / metabolism
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / drug effects
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / physiology*
  • Endoderm / cytology
  • Endoderm / metabolism
  • Endoderm / physiology
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Epithelium / embryology
  • Epithelium / physiology
  • Fibroblasts / cytology*
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / physiology
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Intestine, Small / cytology*
  • Intestine, Small / embryology
  • Intestine, Small / physiology
  • Mesoderm / cytology
  • Mesoderm / metabolism
  • Mesoderm / physiology
  • Muscle, Smooth / cytology
  • Muscle, Smooth / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Skin / cytology*


  • Actins