Talk:2010 BGD Practical 6 - Week 3

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Week 3

Week 3 - Embryonic disc

Week 3

Mesoderm means the "middle layer" and it is from this layer that nearly all the bodies connective tissues are derived. In early mesoderm development a number of transient structures will form and then be lost as tissue structure is patterned and organised. Humans are vertebrates, with a "backbone", and the first mesoderm structure we will see form after the notochord will be somites.

Facts: Week 4, 22 - 23 days, 2 - 3.5 mm, Somite Number 4 - 12

View: This is a dorsal view of the human embryo, the amniotic membrane has been removed. Top embryo is an early stage 10, bottom is late stage 10.

Mesoderm organization: lateral plate - intermediate mesoderm - paraxial mesoderm - axial mesoderm - paraxial mesoderm - intermediate mesoderm - lateral plate

Axial Mesoderm

  • notochord
  1. mechanical role in embryonic disc folding
  2. molecular role in patterning surrounding tissues

Adult - contributes to the nucleus pulposis of the intervertebral disc

Paraxial Mesoderm

Stage 7 paraxial mesoderm
  • differentiates rostro-caudally (head to tail)
  • remains unsegmented in the head region.
  • segments in the body region to form pairs of somites along the length of the embryo.

Adult - contributes vertebral column (vertebra and IVD), dermis of the skin, skeletal muscle of body and limbs

Intermediate Mesoderm

Stage 7 intermediate mesoderm
  • named by position (between paraxial and lateral plate)
  • differentiates rostro-caudally (head to tail)
  • forms 3 sets of "kidneys" in sequence
  1. pronephros
  2. mesonephros
  3. metanephros

Adult - metanephros forms the kidney

Lateral Plate Mesoderm

Stage 7 lateral plate
  • a "horseshoe shaped" space forms in the middle
  • somatic mesoderm - closest to ectoderm
  • space - forms the 3 body cavities (pericardial, pleural, peritoneal)
  • splanchnic mesoderm - closest to endoderm

Adult - body connective tissues, gastrointestinal tract (connective tissues, muscle, organs), heart

Somite Development

stage 11 Embryo

Somite initially forms 2 main components

  • ventromedial- sclerotome forms vertebral body and intervertebral disc
  • dorsolateral - dermomyotome forms dermis and skeletal muscle


  • sclerotome later becomes subdivided
    • rostral and caudal halves separated laterally by von Ebner's fissure
  • half somites contribute to a single vertebral level body
  • other half intervertebral disc
  • therefore final vertebral segmentation “shifts”


  • Body - epaxial and hypaxial muscles
  • Limbs - flexor and extensor muscles


  • connective tissue underlying epidermis
  • begins as a dorsal thickening
  • spreads throughout the body

Mesoderm 001 icon.jpg Somite 001 icon.jpg Vertabra 003 icon.jpg