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Transformation of a polygonal cellular pattern during sexual maturation of the avian oviduct epithelium: computer simulation.

  • Honda, H1
  • Yamanaka, H
  • Eguchi, G
  • 1 Kanebo Institute for Cancer Research, Osaka, Japan. , (Japan)
Published Article
Journal of embryology and experimental morphology
Publication Date
Nov 01, 1986
PMID: 3655641


A peculiar cellular pattern resembling a checkerboard has been observed on the luminal surface of the oviduct epithelium of an adult Japanese quail. The epithelium is a monolayer cell sheet and consists of two types of columnar cells, ciliated cells (C-cells) and gland cells (G-cells) assembled in alternating blocks. The pattern develops, during sexual maturation, from a kagome-like pattern (in which large C-cells are surrounded by small G-cells) characteristic of the immature oviduct. In the present paper, computer simulations of the pattern transformation from kagome to checkerboard were performed assuming a few properties of individual cells. The adult checkerboard-like pattern is not strictly rectangular, but is deformed toward a honeycomb pattern. In theoretical considerations the assumption that adhesion is stronger between unlike cells than between like cells formed an ideal checkerboard pattern, because all cell boundaries in it are edges along which unlike cells meet. On the other hand, a honeycomb pattern formed after assuming that the boundary length of the cellular pattern is minimized (caused by contraction of bundles of microfilaments running along lateral boundaries of the columnar epithelial cell while keeping contact between neighbouring cells). The actual checkerboard-like pattern was considered to be in a balanced state between the effects of (1) the strong adhesion between unlike cells, and (2) the boundary contraction. Using a computational analysis, this consideration enabled us to obtain a quantitative parameter value for the difference between cell adhesions of unlike cells and of like cells. C-cells divided once during the kagome-checkerboard transformation, while G-cells did not divide. We performed computer simulations starting with the kagome pattern in which all C-cells divided once. The computer program of the boundary shortening procedure we used involved the quantitative parameter value for differential cell adhesion obtained as described above. A checkerboard pattern was successfully generated in the simulation. It is concluded that the strong adhesion between unlike cells and the boundary shortening have important roles in formation and maintenance of the kagome and checkerboard patterns of the avian oviduct epithelium.

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