Neurulation abnormalities secondary to altered gene expression in neural tube defect susceptible Splotch embryos

Gregory D. Bennett, Jie An, Johanna C. Craig, Lisa A. Gefrides, James A. Calvin, Richard H. Finnell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The murine mutant Splotch (Sp) is a well-established model for studying neural tube closure defects. In the current investigation, the progression through neural tube closure (NTC) as well as the expression patterns of 12 developmentally regulated genes were examined in the neural tissue of wildtype (+/+), Splotch heterozygous (Sp/+), and Splotch homozygous (Sp/Sp) embryos during neurulation. The overall growth of the embryos, as measured by the number of somite pairs, did not differ significantly between the three genotypes at any of the collection time-points. There was, however, a significant delay in the progression through NTC for both the Sp/+ and Sp/Sp embryos. A univariate analysis on the expression of the 12 candidate genes (bcl-2, FBP-2, Hmx-2, Msx-3, N-cam, N-cad, noggin, p53, Pax-3, Shh, Wee-1, wnt-1) revealed that although 11 were statistically altered, across time or by genotype, there were no significant interactions between gestation age and genotype for any of these genes during NTC. However, a multivariate statistical analysis on the simultaneous expression of these genes revealed interactions at both gestation day (GD) 8:12 (day:hour) and 9:00 among Pax-3, N-cam, N-cad, bcl-2, p53, and Wee-1 that could potentially explain the aberrant NTC. The data from these studies suggest that a disruption in the genes that govern the cell cycle or extracellular matrices of the developing neural tube might play a critical role in the occurrence of the NTDs observed in Splotch embryos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-29
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Embryology
  • Toxicology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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