Talk:Gastrointestinal Tract - Oesophagus Development

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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2021, December 4) Embryology Gastrointestinal Tract - Oesophagus Development. Retrieved from


Front Pediatr. 2017 Apr 28;5:91. doi: 10.3389/fped.2017.00091. eCollection 2017. Update on Foregut Molecular Embryology and Role of Regenerative Medicine Therapies.

Perin S1, McCann CJ1, Borrelli O2, De Coppi P1,3, Thapar N1,2. Author information Abstract Esophageal atresia (OA) represents one of the commonest and most severe developmental disorders of the foregut, the most proximal segment of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract (esophagus and stomach) in embryological terms. Of intrigue is the common origin from this foregut of two very diverse functional entities, the digestive and respiratory systems. OA appears to result from incomplete separation of the ventral and dorsal parts of the foregut during development, resulting in disruption of esophageal anatomy and frequent association with tracheo-oesophageal fistula. Not surprisingly, and likely inherent to OA, are associated abnormalities in components of the enteric neuromusculature and ultimately loss of esophageal functional integrity. An appreciation of such developmental processes and associated defects has not only enhanced our understanding of the etiopathogenesis underlying such devastating defects but also highlighted the potential of novel corrective therapies. There has been considerable progress in the identification and propagation of neural crest stem cells from the GI tract itself or derived from pluripotent cells. Such cells have been successfully transplanted into models of enteric neuropathy confirming their ability to functionally integrate and replenish missing or defective enteric nerves. Combinatorial approaches in tissue engineering hold significant promise for the generation of organ-specific scaffolds such as the esophagus with current initiatives directed toward their cellularization to facilitate optimal function. This chapter outlines the most current understanding of the molecular embryology underlying foregut development and OA, and also explores the promise of regenerative medicine. KEYWORDS: enteric nervous system; esophageal atresia; foregut development; stem cell; tissue engineering; tracheo-esophageal fistula PMID 28503544 PMCID: PMC5408018 DOI: 10.3389/fped.2017.00091


Morphology of the developing muscularis externa in the mouse esophagus

Dis Esophagus. 2012 Jan;25(1):10-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-2050.2011.01208.x. Epub 2011 May 19.

Cao XM1, Yang YP, Li HR, Cui HL, Ya J.


Muscularis externa of mouse esophagus is composed of two skeletal muscle layers in the adult. But less attention is paid to the histogenesis of the muscularis externa of the esophagus, and controversies still exist about the developmental process and the spatio-temporal expression characteristics of muscle-specific proteins during the development of esophageal muscularis externa. To further probe into the developmental pattern of muscularis externa of the mouse esophagus and the expression characteristics of different muscle-specific proteins, immunohistochemical and terminal deoxyribonucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate (dUTP)-digoxigenin nick-end labeling apoptotic staining methods are used to investigate the expression patterns of different muscle-specific proteins and to elucidate the relationship of these protein expressions with the development of muscularis externa of the mouse esophagus. Thus, an understanding of the developing esophageal muscularis externa may be important for developing therapeutic strategies for the treatment of human esophagus diseases. Serial sections of mouse embryos from embryonic day (ED) 12 to ED18, and full-length esophagi from postnatal first to 5th day were stained with monoclonal antibodies against α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), α-sarcomerical actin (α-SCA), desmin, and monoclonal anti-skeletal myosin (MHC), while apoptosis was determined using the terminal deoxyribonucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-digoxigenin nick-end labeling assay. The expression of α-SMA was started at ED12. During the development of ED14-ED15, α-SMA positive cells were seen extending from the walls of left three, four, and six arch arteries toward the dorsal wall of esophagus. Stronger expression of α-SCA and desmin could be detected at ED14 and ED15, expression intensity in caudal segment and inner layer was stained stronger than that of cranial segment and outer layer, but after ED16, strong expression of α-SCA and desmin was found in the outer layer of muscularis externa. Expression of MHC was first detected in the outer layer of cranial segment of muscularis externa at ED17. At ED18, MHC had extended to the level of thyroid gland, staining intensity in the outer layer and cranial segment was stronger than that of inner layer and caudal segment. One to five days after birth, the thickness of the esophageal muscle layer was obviously increased. Most of the muscle cells in the cranial segment of esophagus showed strong expression of α-SCA and clear cross striations at higher magnification. With progression toward the caudal segment, expression intensity of α-SCA became weaker, but the expression intensity of desmin was the same at different levels of esophagus. The muscle fibers were arranged densely with high expression of MHC in the cranial segment. During the development of esophageal muscularis externa, few apoptotic cells were observed. α-SMA, α-SCA, desmin, and MHC show different expression patterns. The differentiation of outer layer of esophageal muscularis externa is quicker than that of inner layer, and the caudal segment is quicker than that of the cranial segment. Besides, apoptosis may not participate in the development of esophageal muscularis externa. The smooth muscle cells from arch arteries may participate in the development of esophageal muscularis externa. © 2011 Copyright the Authors. Journal compilation © 2011, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. and the International Society for Diseases of the Esophagus.

PMID 21595780 DOI: 10.1111/j.1442-2050.2011.01208.x


Molecular aspects of esophageal development

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2011 Sep;1232:309-15. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2011.06071.x.

Rishniw M1, Rodriguez P, Que J, Burke ZD, Tosh D, Chen H, Chen X.


The following on molecular aspects of esophageal development contains commentaries on esophageal striated myogenesis and transdifferentiation; conversion from columnar into stratified squamous epithelium in the mouse esophagus; the roles for BMP signaling in the developing esophagus and forestomach; and evidence of a direct conversion from columnar to stratified squamous cells in the developing esophagus. © 2011 New York Academy of Sciences. PMID 21950820 PMCID: PMC3568516 DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2011.06071.x


Skeletal myogenesis in the mouse esophagus does not occur through transdifferentiation

Genesis. 2003 Jun;36(2):81-2.

Rishniw M, Xin HB, Deng KY, Kotlikoff MI.


To determine the developmental history of murine esophageal skeletal muscle, smooth muscle cells were fate mapped by lineage-specific recombination and phenotypically marked by eGFP. Examination of embryonic and postnatal tissues revealed that esophageal skeletal muscle does not arise from transdifferentiation of committed smooth muscle cells. Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

PMID 12820168 DOI: 10.1002/gene.10198


Both smooth and skeletal muscle precursors are present in foetal mouse oesophagus and they follow different differentiation pathways

Dev Dyn. 2000 Aug;218(4):587-602.

Zhao W1, Dhoot GK.


Muscularis externa of mouse oesophagus is composed of two skeletal muscle layers in the adult. Unlike rest of skeletal muscle in the body, the oesophageal skeletal muscle in the mouse has been proposed to be derived from fully differentiated smooth muscle cells by transdifferentiation during later foetal and early postnatal development (Patapoutian et al. [1995] Science 270:1818-1821). Here we characterised the nature of cells in muscularis externa of the mouse oesophagus by ultrastructural and immunoctyochemical analyses. The presence of differentiated skeletal muscle cells identified by positive staining for skeletal muscle specific myosin heavy chain became first apparent in the outer layer of cranial oesophagus at 14 days gestation. The transient expression of smooth muscle type alpha-actin in mouse oesophageal muscle was also apparent during foetal development. This isoform, however, was not smooth muscle specific during early development as it was also detected in foetal skeletal muscles. Compared with oesophagus, the suppression of this smooth muscle type alpha-actin during foetal development was faster in non-oesophageal skeletal muscle cells. The development of skeletal muscle in oesophagus showed a cranial to caudal and an outer layer to inner layer progression. During early foetal development, mouse oesophagus is composed of undifferentiated mesenchymal cells that formed cell clusters. Two types of cells with different staining densities could be distinguished within these cell clusters by electron microscopy. The centrally located pale staining cells gave rise to skeletal muscle cells while the peripherally positioned dense staining cells gave rise to smooth muscle cells, indicating the existence of both skeletal and smooth muscle cell precursors in mouse oesophagus during early foetal development. Further development showed an increase in the proportion of skeletal muscle cells and a decrease in size and number of the smooth muscle type cells. Apart from decrease in cell size, some other morphological features of smooth muscle cell degeneration were also observed during later foetal and early neonatal development. No smooth muscle cells undergoing transdifferentiation were observed. Both immunochemical and ultrastructural observations, thus, demonstrated the presence of skeletal muscle cells in early foetal oesophagus. It is concluded that the transient appearance of smooth muscle cells may provide a scaffold for the laying down of skeletal muscle layers in mouse oesophagus, the final disappearance of which may be triggered by lack of smooth muscle innervation. Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

PMID 10906778 DOI: 10.1002/1097-0177(2000)9999:9999<::AID-DVDY1019>3.0.CO;2-3


Evidence for developmentally programmed transdifferentiation in mouse esophageal muscle

Science. 1995 Dec 15;270(5243):1818-21.

Patapoutian A1, Wold BJ, Wagner RA.


Transdifferentiation is a relatively rare phenomenon in which cells of one differentiated type and function switch to a second discrete identity. In vertebrate embryos, smooth muscle and skeletal muscle are distinct tissues that arise from separate compartments of the mesoderm. The musculature of the mouse esophagus was found to undergo a conversion from smooth muscle in the fetus to skeletal muscle during early postnatal development. The switch from smooth to skeletal muscle features the transitory appearance of individual cells expressing a mixed phenotype, which suggests that this conversion is a result of programmed transdifferentiation. PMID 8525375