Int. J. Dev. Biol. 49: 161 - 171 (2005)
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.041937sc
© UPV/EHU Press

Neural crest derivatives in ocular and periocular structures

Sophie Creuzet*, Christine Vincent and Gérard Couly

Institut d'Embryologie Cellulaire et Moléculaire du CNRS et du Collège de France, UMR 7128, Nogent-sur-Marne cedex, France

ABSTRACT In vertebrates, the eye is an ectodermal compound structure associating neurectodermal and placodal anlagen. In addition, it benefits early on from a mesenchymal ectoderm-derived component, the neural crest. In this respect, the construction of chimeras between quail and chick has been a turning point, instrumental in appraising the contribution of the cephalic neural crest to the development of ocular and periocular structures. Given the variety of crest derivatives underscored in the developing eye, this study illustrates the fascinating ability of this unique structure to finely adapt its differentiation to microenvironmental cues. This analysis of neural crest cell contribution to ocular development emphasizes their paramount role to design the anterior segment of the eye, supply refracting media and contribute to the homeostasy of the anterior optic chamber.

Keywords:

neural crest, quail-chick chimera, cell migration, limbus, cornea, iridial muscle, ciliary corpus, Sclemm's canal, eyelid, nictitating membrane

*Corresponding author e-mail: sophie.creuzet@college-de-france.fr