Modulation of alphafetoprotein synthesis in the early postimplantation mouse embryo

J Embryol Exp Morphol. 1978 Aug;46:135-46.


The visceral endoderm of mouse egg cylinders on the 7th and 8th days of gestation is divided into the visceral embryonic (VE) endoderm cell population which synthesizes alphafetoprotein (AFP), and the visceral extra-embryonic (VEX) endoderm population which does not synthesize AFP. Embryonic (E) and extra-embryonic (EX) ectoderm and visceral endoderm tissues were enzymically separated, reassociated in different combinations, and cultured in vitro for 48 h. The immunoperoxidase reaction on sections of cultured tissues showed that both VE and VEX endoderm cells synthesize high levels of AFP when cultured in isolation or in association with E ectoderm, but do not synthesize AFP when in close association with EX ectoderm. Both 7th and 8th day VEX endoderm cells synthesize detectable levels of AFP 12 h after isolation, and contain high levels by 24 h. It is concluded that both VE and VEX endoderm cells have the ability to synthesize AFP, but modulation of expression occurs through an inhibitory influence of the EX ectoderm.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Ectoderm / physiology*
  • Embryonic Development
  • Endoderm / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Mice
  • Pregnancy
  • Time Factors
  • alpha-Fetoproteins / biosynthesis*


  • alpha-Fetoproteins