Myotome formation: A multistage process

Chaya Kalcheim*, Yuval Cinnamon, Nitza Kahane

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


The epaxial muscles of the body are localized in a dorsomedial position with respect to the axial structures, attach to the vertebral column and are concerned with maintenance of posture and movements of the vertebral column. The epaxial musculature derives from the myotome, a transient embryonic structure whose formation is initiated at the epithelial somite stage and is accomplished following complete dissociation of the epithelial dermomyotome. Recent results suggest that myotome development is a multistage process, characterized by addition of sequential waves of muscle progenitors. A first wave originates along the medial part of the epithelial somite and gives rise to a primary myotomal structure; a second wave arises from the rostral and caudal lips of the epithelial dermomyotome and from the dorsomedial lip, which contributes indirectly through the rostral and caudal edges, and a third wave which is composed of mitotically active resident progenitors accounts for significant growth of the myotomal mass and for its transition into epaxial muscle. In this review we discuss the origin, migration and known cellular and molecular features that characterize each wave of progenitors that colonize the myotome.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)161-173
Number of pages13
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Israel Academy of Sciences, the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation and the Israel Cancer Research Foundation.


  • Avian embryo
  • Myoblast proliferation
  • Myogenesis
  • Neural tube
  • Pioneer myoblasts
  • Postmitotic cells
  • QmyoD
  • Qmyogenin
  • Satellite cells
  • Somite


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