Development of the tarsometatarsal skeleton by the lateral fusion of three cylindrical periosteal bones in the chick embryo (Gallus gallus)

Yuichi Namba, Yosuke Yamazaki, Maki Yuguchi, Shigeo Kameoka, Shinji Usami, Kazuya Honda, Keitaro Isokawa

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14 Citations (Scopus)


An avian tarsometatarsal (TMT) skeleton spanning from the base of toes to the intertarsal joint is a compound bone developed by elongation and lateral fusion of three cylindrical periosteal bones. Ontogenetic development of the TMT skeleton is likely to recapitulate the changes occurred during evolution but so far has received less attention. In this study, its development has been examined morphologically and histologically in the chick, Gallus gallus. Three metatarsal cartilage rods radiating distally earlier in development became aligned parallel to each other by embryonic day 8 (ED8). Calcification initiated at ED8 in the midshaft of cartilage propagated cylindrically along its surface. Coordinated radial growth by fabricating bony struts and trabeculae resulted in the formation of three independent bone cylinders, which further became closely apposed with each other by ED13 when the periosteum began to fuse in a back-to-back orientation. Bone microstructure, especially orientation of intertrabecular channels in which blood vasculature resides, appeared related to the observed rapid longitudinal growth. Differential radial growth was considered to delineate eventual surface configurations of a compound TMT bone, but its morphogenesis preceded the fusion of bone cylinders. Bony trabeculae connecting adjacent cylinders emerged first at ED17 in the dorsal and ventral quarters of intervening tissue at the mid-diaphyseal level. Posthatch TMT skeleton had a seemingly uniform mid-diaphysis, although the septa persisted between original marrow cavities. These findings provide morphological and histological bases for further cellular and molecular studies on this developmental process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1527-1535
Number of pages9
JournalAnatomical Record
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010


  • Long bone
  • Microfibrils
  • Microstructure
  • Morphogenesis
  • Periosteum


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