To clarify the roles of fibroblast growth factors (FGF) in limb cartilage pattern formation, the effects of various FGF on recombinant limbs that were composed of dissociated and reaggregated mesoderm and ectodermal jackets were examined. Fibroblast growth factor-soaked beads were inserted just under the apical ectodermal ridge (AER) of recombinant limbs and the recombinant limbs were grafted and allowed to develop. Control recombinant limbs without FGF beads formed one or two cartilage elements. Recombinants with FGF-4 beads formed up to five cartilage elements, which were aligned along the anteroposterior (AP) axis. Each cartilage element showed digit-like segmentation. In contrast, recombinants with FGF-2 beads showed formation of multiple thick and unsegmented cartilage rods, which elongated inside and outside the AP plane from the distal end of the recombinants. Recombinants with FGF-8 beads formed a truncated cartilage pattern and recombinants with FGF-10 beads formed a cartilage pattern similar to that of the control recombinants. The expression of the Fgf-8, Msx-1 and Hoxa-13 genes in the developing recombinant limbs were examined. FGF-4 induced extension of the length of the Fgf-8-positive epidermis, or AER, along the AP axis 5 days after grafting, at which time the digits are specified. FGF-2 induced expansion of the Msx-1-positive area, first in the proximal direction and then along the dorsoventral axis. The functions of these FGF in recombinant and normal limb patterning are discussed in this paper.
ASJC Scopus subject areas