The migration of myogenic cells from the somites into the leg region of avian embryos. An ultrastructural study

Anat Embryol (Berl). 1979;157(3):291-309. doi: 10.1007/BF00304995.


The migration of myogenic stem cells into the leg anlagen of chick embryos between stages 16--20 of Hamburger and Hamilton was examined. SEM and TEM studies reveal that cell migration starts at stage 16 from the just-formed somites 26-28. The migrating myogenic cells are elongated and oriented in a medio-lateral direction. The leading ends branch into filopodia which contact a fibrillar network. At first, single cells migrate; later on the cells leaving the ventro-lateral edge of the dermatome migrate in strands and have specialized contacts between them. After reaction with ruthenium red and concanavalin A the migrating cells show a thick surface coat to which ruthenium red-positive particles are attached. The surface coat may be important in the interactions among the migrating cells as well as between the cells and the substrate. The migration of myogenic stem cells was found to take place in a matrix of collagenous fibrils and ruthenium red-positive particles, probably containing glycosaminoglycans. At the onset of migration the fibrillar network exhibits a preferred medio-lateral orientation. Therefore, it may be concluded that this alignment of the fibrils influences the direction of cell migration.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chick Embryo* / ultrastructure
  • Leg / embryology*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Muscles / embryology*
  • Time Factors