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Influence of adrenal and sex hormones on the differentiation of melanophores in the chick

, : Influence of adrenal and sex hormones on the differentiation of melanophores in the chick. Jour Exp Zool 88(2): 275-303

Explants of skin ectoderm from embryos of the New Hampshire Red and Rhode Island Red breeds of fowl yielded red melanophores infrequently (0 to 22% of the cases) when grown in heparin-plasma and embryonic extract, but larger numbers of them differentiated (60%) if sex hormones were added to the medium. Olive oil and sesame oil also produced 8% and 29% increases respectively in the differentiation of red melanophores. Black melanophores appeared in explants from red breeds regardless of whether they were treated or not. However, testosterone, estrone, and sesame oil increased the numbers of black melanophores, whereas estradiol and olive oil inhibited them. The differentiation of black melanophores in explants from Barred Plymouth Rock embryos was inhibited by estradiol, testosterone, and desoxycorticosterone. Not only was their total number decreased, but their differentiation was slowed so that they appeared younger than pigment cells in control cultures. Feather germ formation was inhibited by hormones, although growth of cultures as a whole was apparently unaffected. The hormones apparently act directly on melanophores either to catalyze or inhibit the rate of melanin synthesis within the cell. There is no evidence for a conversion of one kind of melanophore into the other. In order to yield red melanophores the bird must have a genetic constitution for red pigment (i.e., the explanted tissue must contain latent red melanoblasts). The sex hormones provide conditions suitable for their differentiation.


DOI: 10.1002/jez.1400880207

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