With the help of a suction manometric device, the relation between the deformation of Xenonus laevis embryo at the gastrula and neurula stages and the value of the applied force has been studied. Stiffness modules of embryonic tissues were in the order of several dozens of Pascal and they were inversely proportional during deformation from 40 to 20%. At the gastrula stage, a uniform or an increasing rate of expansion of the embryo body in the suction capillary with the diameter of approximately half that of the embryo was observed for 30 min after the action of the suction forces. The length of the stretched portion of the embryo correlates with the value of its deformation at the first minute. As a result of the expansion, the total body surface area of the deformed embryo increases more than twice compared to intact embryos. After expelling the embryo from the capillary, its surface reduced and the deformation became smoothened within 5 min, which indicates the existence of tensional force in the expanded embryo. These data confirm that, at the embryo gastrula stage, external mechanical forces do not only passively deform the embryo but also initiate the active expansion of the embryo which takes place at zero external force and overcomes the tensional resistance of tissues. The mechanism of active expansion and its link with the processes of normal morphogenesis are discussed.
Russian Journal of Developmental Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 7, 2011
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