Human head (Week 4
, Stage 11
) showing buccopharyngeal membrane breakdown.
Early fetal mouth (week 12)
The oral cavity (mouth) is formed following breakdown of the buccopharyngeal membrane (oropharyngeal or oral membrane) and contributed to mainly by the pharynx lying within the pharyngeal arches and has contributions from neural crest. The mouth is also separated from the nasal cavity by the palate, that has both embryonic and fetal development components. This is also the source of the main developmental abnormalities of cleft lip and palate and cleft palate.
The gastrointestinal tract (GIT) arises initially during the process of gastrulation from the endoderm of the trilaminar embryo (week 3) and extends from the buccopharyngeal membrane (oral membrane)to the cloacal membrane. The tract and associated organs later have contributions from all the germ cell layers. This current page provides an introductory overview, use the links below for descriptions of specific components and regions as well as developmental abnormalities. More detailed topic information can be found on the linked pages.
Components found within the oral cavity such as tooth, tongue , taste, submandibular gland, parotid gland, and sublingual gland also have their own specific pages.
Loss of buccopharyngeal membrane opens the tract to amniotic fluid through the remainder of development, and during the fetal period is actively swallowed.
Note that in historic texts the term entoderm is used to describe endoderm and other terminology may also differ from current descriptions.
Some Recent Findings
- Review - Mouth development "A mouth is present in all animals, and comprises an opening from the outside into the oral cavity and the beginnings of the digestive tract to allow eating. This review focuses on the earliest steps in mouth formation. In the first half, we conclude that the mouth arose once during evolution. In all animals, the mouth forms from ectoderm and endoderm. A direct association of oral ectoderm and digestive endoderm is present even in triploblastic animals, and in chordates, this region is known as the extreme anterior domain (EAD). Further support for a single origin of the mouth is a conserved set of genes that form a 'mouth gene program' including foxA and otx2. In the second half of this review, we discuss steps involved in vertebrate mouth formation, using the frog Xenopus as a model. The vertebrate mouth derives from oral ectoderm from the anterior neural ridge, pharyngeal endoderm and cranial neural crest (NC). Vertebrates form a mouth by breaking through the body covering in a precise sequence including specification of EAD ectoderm and endoderm as well as NC, formation of a 'pre-mouth array,' basement membrane dissolution, stomodeum formation, and buccopharyngeal membrane perforation. In Xenopus, the EAD is also a craniofacial organizer that guides NC, while reciprocally, the NC signals to the EAD to elicit its morphogenesis into a pre-mouth array. Human mouth anomalies are prevalent and are affected by genetic and environmental factors, with understanding guided in part by use of animal models." Paper PDF
- The digestive tract in Human Embryos Between Carnegie Stages 11 and 13 "The digestive tract was initially formed by a narrowing of the yolk sac, and then several derived primordia such as the pharynx, lung, stomach, liver, and dorsal pancreas primordia differentiated during CS12 (21-29 somites) and CS13 (≥ 30 somites). The differentiation of four pairs of pharyngeal pouches was complete in all CS13 embryos. The respiratory primordium was recognized in ≥ 26-somite embryos and it flattened and then branched at CS13. The trachea formed and then elongated in ≥ 35-somite embryos. The stomach adopted a spindle shape in all ≥ 34-somite embryos, and the liver bud was recognized in ≥ 27-somite embryos. The dorsal pancreas appeared as definitive buddings in all but three CS13 embryos, and around these buddings, the small intestine bent in ≥ 33-somite embryos. In ≥ 35-somite embryos, the small intestine rotated around the cranial-caudal axis and had begun to form a primitive intestinal loop, which led to umbilical herniation."
|More recent papers
This table allows an automated computer search of the external PubMed database using the listed "Search term" text link.
- This search now requires a manual link as the original PubMed extension has been disabled.
- The displayed list of references do not reflect any editorial selection of material based on content or relevance.
- References also appear on this list based upon the date of the actual page viewing.
References listed on the rest of the content page and the associated discussion page (listed under the publication year sub-headings) do include some editorial selection based upon both relevance and availability.
More? References | Discussion Page | Journal Searches | 2019 References | 2020 References
Search term: Mouth Development | Mouth Embryology | Oral Cavity Development
|These papers originally appeared in the Some Recent Findings table, but as that list grew in length have now been shuffled down to this collapsible table.
See also the Discussion Page for other references listed by year and References on this current page.
- Human Embryology Larson Chapter 9 p229-260
- The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (6th ed.) Moore and Persaud Chapter 12 p271-302
- Before We Are Born (5th ed.) Moore and Persaud Chapter 13 p255-287
- Essentials of Human Embryology Larson Chapter 9 p123-146
- Human Embryology Fitzgerald and Fitzgerald Chapter 19,20 p119-123
More? References | Online Textbooks | Historic Textbooks
||You have access the following online Embryology resources and textbooks through the UNSW Library.
||Hill, M.A. (2020). UNSW Embryology (20th ed.) Retrieved June 17, 2021, from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au
||Moore, K.L., Persaud, T.V.N. & Torchia, M.G. (2015). The developing human: clinically oriented embryology (10th ed.). Philadelphia: Saunders. (links only function with UNSW connection)
Chapter 11 Alimentary System
||Schoenwolf, G.C., Bleyl, S.B., Brauer, P.R., Francis-West, P.H. & Philippa H. (2015). Larsen's human embryology (5th ed.). New York; Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.(links only function with UNSW connection)
Chapter 14 Development of the Gastrointestinal Tract
- Understanding of germ layer contributions to the early gastrointestinal tract (GIT)
- Understanding of the folding of the GIT
- Understanding of three main GIT embryonic divisions
- Understanding of associated organ development (liver, pancreas, spleen)
- Brief understanding of mechanical changes (rotations) during GIT development
- Brief understanding of gastrointestinal abnormalities
Germ Layer Contributions
- Endoderm - epithelium and associated glands
- Mesoderm (splanchnic) - mesentry, connective tissues, smooth muscle, blood vessels
- Ectoderm (neural crest) - enteric nervous system (neural tube) - extrinsic innervation
Both endoderm and mesoderm will contribute to associated organs.
Gastrointestinal Tract Movies
From the oral cavity the next portion of the foregut is initially a single gastrointestinal (oesophagus) and respiratory (trachea) common tube, the pharynx which lies behind the heart. Note that the respiratory tract will form from a ventral bud arising at this level.
- Oral cavity
- Pharynx (esophagus, trachea)
- Respiratory tract
(Embryo Carnegie stage 13)
Below is an overview of the sections starting at the level of pharynx compressed dorsoventrally, following the GIT through to the rectum. The most obvious feature is that of a continuous tube initially, attached by dorsoventral mesentery.
|Bifurcation of the pharynx into anterior respiratory and posterior oesophagous.
||The stomach forming beneath the lung buds and adjacent to the developing liver.
||Below the stomach the GIT has a large dorsal mesogastrium and finer ventral mesogastrium. Associated with the tract is the large portal blood vessel derived from the vitelline circulation.
||At the bottom curvature of the embryo the mesentry association with the GIT shows extensive vitelline vessels running out through the umbilicus. The hindgut can then be seen, ending at the common urogenital sinus, the cloaca.
(Embryo Carnegie stage 15)
Later week 5 development showing a sagittal section upper half of embryo.
(Embryo Carnegie stage 23)
Images showing both the floor and roof of the embryonic oral cavity in week 8.
- Oral Cavity (Carnegie stage 23)
Embryo CRL 10 mm - 18mm - initial parotid gland bud appears and is divided into a body and a duct.
A study of human embryos and foetuses between CRL 19 mm to 67 mm.
Identified the parotid gland primordia located most lateral and cranial point of the sulcus buccalis and its duct orifice formation dependent upon the developmental processes of the fetal skeleton.
Embryo CRL 10 mm - 16mm - initial epithelial bud appears.
- 1857 Meissner was the first to describe a nerve plexus in the submucosa of the bowel wall.
- 1864 Auerbach described the myenteric plexus between the longitudinal and circular muscle layers.
- 1981 LeDouarin describes neural crest contribution to both plexuses.
The endoderm of the developing gastrointestinal tract is a source for patterning signals for both within the tract and also for the surrounding organs and tissues.
- Sox2 - expressed in the anterior part of the primitive gut
- Cdx2 - expressed in the posterior part of the primitive gut
- GDNF - regulate migration of enteric neural crest cells
- endothelin - regulate migration of enteric neural crest cells
- ↑ Chandrashekar J, Hoon MA, Ryba NJ & Zuker CS. (2006). The receptors and cells for mammalian taste. Nature , 444, 288-94. PMID: 17108952 DOI.
- ↑ Chen J, Jacox LA, Saldanha F & Sive H. (2017). Mouth development. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Dev Biol , 6, . PMID: 28514120 DOI.
- ↑ Ueno S, Yamada S, Uwabe C, Männer J, Shiraki N & Takakuwa T. (2016). The Digestive Tract and Derived Primordia Differentiate by Following a Precise Timeline in Human Embryos Between Carnegie Stages 11 and 13. Anat Rec (Hoboken) , 299, 439-49. PMID: 26995337 DOI.
- ↑ Guizetti B & Radlanski RJ. (1996). Development of the parotid gland and its closer neighboring structures in human embryos and fetuses of 19-67 mm CRL. Ann. Anat. , 178, 503-8. PMID: 9010565 DOI.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Raghoebir L, Bakker ER, Mills JC, Swagemakers S, Kempen MB, Munck AB, Driegen S, Meijer D, Grosveld F, Tibboel D, Smits R & Rottier RJ. (2012). SOX2 redirects the developmental fate of the intestinal epithelium toward a premature gastric phenotype. J Mol Cell Biol , 4, 377-85. PMID: 22679103 DOI.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Goto A, Sumiyama K, Kamioka Y, Nakasyo E, Ito K, Iwasaki M, Enomoto H & Matsuda M. (2013). GDNF and endothelin 3 regulate migration of enteric neural crest-derived cells via protein kinase A and Rac1. J. Neurosci. , 33, 4901-12. PMID: 23486961 DOI.
Chen J, Jacox LA, Saldanha F & Sive H. (2017). Mouth development. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Dev Biol , 6, . PMID: 28514120 DOI. PDF
Guizetti B & Radlanski RJ. (1996). Development of the submandibular gland and its closer neighboring structures in human embryos and fetuses of 19-67 mm CRL. Ann. Anat. , 178, 509-14. PMID: 9010566 DOI.
Guizetti B & Radlanski RJ. (1996). Development of the parotid gland and its closer neighboring structures in human embryos and fetuses of 19-67 mm CRL. Ann. Anat. , 178, 503-8. PMID: 9010565 DOI.
|Historic Disclaimer - information about historic embryology pages
| Pages where the terms "Historic" (textbooks, papers, people, recommendations) appear on this site, and sections within pages where this disclaimer appears, indicate that the content and scientific understanding are specific to the time of publication. This means that while some scientific descriptions are still accurate, the terminology and interpretation of the developmental mechanisms reflect the understanding at the time of original publication and those of the preceding periods, these terms, interpretations and recommendations may not reflect our current scientific understanding. (More? Embryology History | Historic Embryology Papers)
Search Pubmed: Mouth Development | Oral Cavity Development
Historic image showing midgut herniation
|Gastrointestinal Tract Terms
- allantois - An extraembryonic membrane, endoderm in origin extension from the early hindgut, then cloaca into the connecting stalk of placental animals, connected to the superior end of developing bladder. In reptiles and birds, acts as a reservoir for wastes and mediates gas exchange. In mammals is associated/incorporated with connecting stalk/placental cord fetal-maternal interface.
- amnion - An extra-embryonic membrane, ectoderm and extraembryonic mesoderm in origin, also forms the innermost fetal membrane, that produces amniotic fluid. This fluid-filled sac initially lies above the trilaminar embryonic disc and with embryoic disc folding this sac is drawn ventrally to enclose (cover) the entire embryo, then fetus. The presence of this membrane led to the description of reptiles, bird, and mammals as amniotes.
- amniotic fluid - The fluid that fills amniotic cavity totally encloses and cushions the embryo. Amniotic fluid enters both the gastrointestinal and respiratory tract following rupture of the buccopharyngeal membrane. The late fetus swallows amniotic fluid.
- atresia - is an abnormal interruption of the tube lumen, the abnormality naming is based upon the anatomical location.
- buccal - (Latin, bucca = cheek) A term used to relate to the mouth (oral cavity).
- bile salts - Liver synthesized compounds derived from cholesterol that function postnatally in the small intestine to solubilize and absorb lipids, vitamins, and proteins. These compounds act as water-soluble amphipathic detergents. liver
- buccopharyngeal membrane - (oral membrane) (Latin, bucca = cheek) A membrane which forms the external upper membrane limit (cranial end) of the early gastrointestinal tract. This membrane develops during gastrulation by ectoderm and endoderm without a middle (intervening) layer of mesoderm. The membrane lies at the floor of the ventral depression (stomodeum) where the oral cavity will open and will breakdown to form the initial "oral opening" of the gastrointestinal tract. The equivilent membrane at the lower end of the gastrointestinal tract is the cloacal membrane.
- celiac artery - (celiac trunk) main blood supply to the foregut, excluding the pharynx, lower respiratory tract, and most of the oesophagus.
- cholangiocytes - epithelial cells that line the intra- and extrahepatic ducts of the biliary tree. These cells modify the hepatocyte-derived bile, and are regulated by hormones, peptides, nucleotides, neurotransmitters, and other molecules. liver
- cloaca - (cloacal cavity) The term describing the common cavity into which the intestinal, genital, and urinary tracts open in vertebrates. Located at the caudal end of the embryo it is located on the surface by the cloacal membrane. In many species this common cavity is later divided into a ventral urogenital region (urogenital sinus) and a dorsal gastrointestinal (rectal) region.
- cloacal membrane - Forms the external lower membrane limit (caudal end) of the early gastrointestinal tract (GIT). This membrane is formed during gastrulation by ectoderm and endoderm without a middle (intervening) layer of mesoderm. The membrane breaks down to form the initial "anal opening" of the gastrointestinal tract.
- coelomic cavity - (coelom) Term used to describe a space. There are extra-embryonic and intra-embryonic coeloms that form during vertebrate development. The single intra-embryonic coelom forms the 3 major body cavities: pleural cavity, pericardial cavity and peritoneal cavity.
- crypt of Lieberkühn - (intestinal gland, intestinal crypt) intestinal villi epithelia extend down into the lamina propria where they form crypts that are the source of epithelial stem cells and immune function.
- duplication - is an abnormal incomplete tube recanalization resulting in parallel lumens, this is really a specialized form of stenosis. (More? Image - small intestine duplication)
- esophageal - (oesophageal)
- foregut - first embryonic division of gastrointestinal tract extending from the oral (buccopharyngeal) membrane and contributing oesophagus, stomach, duodenum (to bile duct opening), liver, biliary apparatus (hepatic ducts, gallbladder, and bile duct), and pancreas. The forgut blood supply is the celiac artery (trunk) excluding the pharynx, lower respiratory tract, and most of the oesophagus.
- galactosemia - Metabolic abnormality where the simple sugar galactose (half of lactose, the sugar in milk) cannot be metabolised. People with galactosemia cannot tolerate any form of milk (human or animal). Detected by the Guthrie test.
- gastric transposition - clinical term for postnatal surgery treatment for esophageal atresia involving esophageal replacement. Typically performed on neonates between day 1 to 4. (More? gastrointestinal abnormalities | PMID 28658159
- gastrointestinal divisions - refers to the 3 embryonic divisions contributing the gastrointestinal tract: foregut, Midgut and hindgut.
- gastrula - (Greek, gastrula = little stomach) A stage of an animal embryo in which the three germ layers (endoderm/mesoderm/ectoderm) have just formed. All of these germ layers have contributions to the gastrointestinal tract.
- gastrulation - The process of differentiation forming a gastrula. Term means literally means "to form a gut" but is more in development, as this process converts the bilaminar embryo (epiblast/hypoblast) into the trilaminar embryo (endoderm/mesoderm/ectoderm) establishing the 3 germ layers that will form all the future tissues of the entire embryo. This process also establishes the the initial body axes. (More? gastrulation)
- Guthrie test - (heel prick) A neonatal blood screening test developed by Dr Robert Guthrie (1916-95) for determining a range of metabolic disorders and infections in the neonate. (More? Guthrie test)
- heterotaxia - (Greek heteros = different; taxis = arrangement) is the right/left transposition of thoracic and/or abdominal organs.
- hindgut - final embryonic division of gastrointestinal tract extending to the cloacal membrane and contributing part of the transverse colon (left half to one third), descending colon, sigmoid colon, rectum, part of anal canal (superior), urinary epithelium (bladder and most urethra). The hindgut blood supply is the inferior mesenteric artery.
- inferior mesenteric artery - main blood supply to the hindgut
- intestine - (bowel) part of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) lying between the stomach and anus where absorption of nutrients and water occur. This region is further divided anatomically and functionally into the small intestine or bowel (duodenum, jejunum and ileum) and large intestine or bowel (cecum and colon).
- intestinal perforation - gastrointestinal abnormality identified in neonates can be due to necrotizing enterocolitis, Hirschsprung’s disease or meconium ileus.
- intraembryonic coelom - The "horseshoe-shaped" space (cavity) that forms initially in the third week of development in the lateral plate mesoderm that will eventually form the 3 main body cavities: pericardial, pleural, peritoneal. The intraembryonic coelom communicates transiently with the extraembryonic coelom.
- meconium ileus intestine obstruction within the ileum due to abnormal meconium properties.
- mesentery - connects gastrointestinal tract to the posterior body wall and is a double layer of visceral peritoneum.
- mesothelium - The mesoderm derived epithelial covering of coelomic organs and also line their cavities.
- Midgut - middle embryonic division of gastrointestinal tract contributing the small intestine (including duodenum distal bile duct opening), cecum, appendix, ascending colon, and part of the transverse colon (right half to two thirds). The midgut blood supply is the superior mesenteric artery.
- neuralation - The general term used to describe the early formation of the nervous system. It is often used to describe the early events of differentiation of the central ectoderm region to form the neural plate, then neural groove, then neural tube. The nervous system includes the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) from the neural tube and the peripheral nervous system (peripheral sensory and sympathetic ganglia) from neural crest. In humans, early neuralation begins in week 3 and continues through week 4.
- neural crest - region of cells at the edge of the neural plate that migrates throughout the embryo and contributes to many different tissues. In the gastrointestinal tract it contributes mainly the enteric nervous system within the wall of the gut responsible for peristalsis and secretion.
- peritoneal stomata - the main openings forming the pathways for drainage of intra-peritoneal fluid from the peritoneal cavity into the lymphatic system.
- pharynx - uppermost end of gastrointestinal and respiratory tract, in the embryo beginning at the buccopharyngeal membrane and forms a major arched cavity within the phrayngeal arches.
- recanalization - describes the process of a hollow structure becoming solid, then becoming hollow again. For example, this process occurs during GIT, auditory and renal system development.
- retroperitoneal - (retroperitoneum) is the anatomical space (sometimes a potential space) in the abdominal cavity behind (retro) the peritoneum. Developmentally parts of the GIT become secondarily retroperitoneal (part of duodenum, ascending and descending colon, pancreas)
- somitogenesis The process of segmentation of the paraxial mesoderm within the trilaminar embryo body to form pairs of somites, or balls of mesoderm. A somite is added either side of the notochord (axial mesoderm) to form a somite pair. The segmentation does not occur in the head region, and begins cranially (head end) and extends caudally (tailward) adding a somite pair at regular time intervals. The process is sequential and therefore used to stage the age of many different species embryos based upon the number visible somite pairs. In humans, the first somite pair appears at day 20 and adds caudally at 1 somite pair/4 hours (mouse 1 pair/90 min) until on average 44 pairs eventually form.
- splanchnic mesoderm - Gastrointestinal tract (endoderm) associated mesoderm formed by the separation of the lateral plate mesoderm into two separate components by a cavity, the intraembryonic coelom. Splanchnic mesoderm is the embryonic origin of the gastrointestinal tract connective tissue, smooth muscle, blood vessels and contribute to organ development (pancreas, spleen, liver). The intraembryonic coelom will form the three major body cavities including the space surrounding the gut, the peritoneal cavity. The other half of the lateral plate mesoderm (somatic mesoderm) is associated with the ectoderm of the body wall.
- stomodeum - (stomadeum, stomatodeum) A ventral surface depression on the early embryo head surrounding the buccopharyngeal membrane, which lies at the floor of this depression. This surface depression lies between the maxillary and mandibular components of the first pharyngeal arch.
- stenosis - abnormal a narrowing of the tube lumen, the abnormality naming is based upon the anatomical location.
- superior mesenteric artery - main blood supply to the Midgut.
- viscera - the internal organs in the main cavities of the body, especially those in the abdomen, for example the Template:Intestines.
- visceral peritoneum - covers the external surfaces of the intestinal tract and organs within the peritoneum. The other component (parietal peritoneum) lines the abdominal and pelvic cavity walls.
- yolk sac - An extraembryonic membrane which is endoderm origin and covered with extraembryonic mesoderm. Yolk sac lies outside the embryo connected initially by a yolk stalk to the midgut with which it is continuous with. The endodermal lining is continuous with the endoderm of the gastrointestinal tract. The extra-embryonic mesoderm differentiates to form both blood and blood vessels of the vitelline system. In reptiles and birds, the yolk sac has a function associated with nutrition. In mammals the yolk sac acts as a source of primordial germ cells and blood cells. Note that in early development (week 2) a structure called the "primitive yolk sac" forms from hypoblast, this is an entirely different structure.
- yolk stalk - (vitelline duct, omphalomesenteric duct, Latin, vitellus = yolk of an egg) The endodermal connection between the midgut and the yolk sac. See vitelline duct.
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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2021, June 17) Embryology Gastrointestinal Tract - Mouth Development. Retrieved from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Gastrointestinal_Tract_-_Mouth_Development
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