The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 33: 227 - 237 (1989)

Vol 33, Issue 2

Influence of various extracellular matrix components on the behavior of cultured chick embryo dermal cells

Published: 1 June 1989

J Robert, A Mauger and P Sengel

Département de Biologie, Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France.


Dermal cells isolated from the back of 7-day chick embryos were cultured on homogeneous two-dimensional substrates consisting of one or two extracellular matrix components (type I, III or IV collagen, fibronectin and several glycosaminoglycans: hyaluronate, chondroitin-4, chondroitin-6, dermatan or heparan sulfate). The effect of these substrates on cell behavior was compared with that of culture dish polystyrene. Three parameters of cell behavior were examined: cell proliferation and patterning, spreading (cell surface) and locomotion (velocity and directionality). Data were collected by sequential microphotography and analyzed by computer assisted morphometry. Types I and III collagen, hyaluronate and heparan sulfate had a slowing down effect on cell proliferation and patterning. The inhibitory effect of type I collagen was also detected in mixtures with glycosaminoglycans. The other components had no effect. While the smallest spreading was observed on fibronectin substrate, the largest was recorded on chondroitin-6 sulfate and heparan sulfate. The slowest velocity of locomotion was measured on fibronectin, types I and IV collagen and a mixture of type I collagen and chondroitin-6 sulfate. The fastest speed was recorded on chondroitin-4 sulfate. These effects are discussed in view of our knowledge of the role of the dermis in the development of skin and cutaneous appendages, and in the light of the morphogenetically related microheterogeneous distribution of collagens, fibronectin and various glycosaminoglycans in the developing skin.

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