A scanning electron microscope study of the extraembryonic endoderm of the 8th-day mouse embryo.
Late primitive streak embryos were dissected to reveal the junction between the visceral (VE) and parietal (PE) extraembryonic endoderm. Scanning electron microscopy showed that the two cell types differ markedly in their surface morphology and intercellular organization: the VE cells have numerous apical microvilli and form part of a continuous epithelial layer, while the smoother PE cells are scattered individually over the surface of Reichert's membrane. One interpretation of the morphology of the junction between the two tissues is that visceral endoderm cells in this region are detaching from the epithelial layer, migrating on to Reichert's membrane and differentiating into parietal endoderm. Preparatory to this, the visceral endoderm cells in the junctional zone may undergo extensive reorganization of their surface membranes.
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