The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 48: 93 - 101 (2004)

Vol 48, Issue 2-3

Special Issue: Skin Development

Molecular mechanisms controlling dorsal dermis generation from the somitic dermomyotome

Published: 1 April 2004

Isabel Olivera-Martinez, Jacques Thélu and Danielle Dhouailly

Equipe Biologie de la Différenciation Epithéliale, Institut Albert Bonniot, Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France.


The initiation of the development of skin appendages (hair/feathers/scales) requires a signal from the competent dense dermis to the epidermis (Dhouailly, 1977). It is therefore essential to understand how to make a competent dermis. In recent years, a few studies have focused on the development of the dorsal dermis from the somitic dermomyotome. Our first aim in this review is to attempt to reconcile the available data on the origin of the dorsal dermis and summarize the present knowledge on the molecular mechanisms implicated in dermal lineage induction. Secondly, we open the discussion on the formation of a loose pre-dermal mesenchyme and more importantly of a dense dermis capable of participating in appendage development. To go further we draw a comparison between the chick and mouse systems to gain a new insight into how to initiate appendage morphogenesis and regulate the extent of hair/feather fields.


chick, mouse, somite, Wnt

Full text in web format is not available for this article. Please download the PDF version.