Stimulation of collagen production in vitro by ascorbic acid released from explants of migrating avian neural crest

Chaya Kalcheim*, Vincent Leviel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Embryonic neuronal tissues contain a collagen-stimulating factor, shown to enhance the hydroxylation and secretion of proline-containing macromolecules by cultured muscle cells. Here we report on a similar activity found during avian embryonic development in explants of migrating mesencephalic neural crest. The degree of proline hydroxylation of proteins secreted into the medium was stimulated 2.5-6-fold in neural crest-muscle and neural crest-somite cocultures, as compared with control cultures devoid of crest explants. No such stimulation occurred when cocultures were treated with the enzyme ascorbate oxidase (EC, suggesting that the active factor in neural crest explants was ascorbic acid or an ascorbate-like molecule. Further characterization of this molecule was performed in crest explants and other embryonic tissues by using HPLC with amperometric detection: this study revealed that migrating cephalic neural crest contains 1.5 μg ascorbic acid per mg protein. Our results suggest that ascorbic acid and/or related molecule(s) could act during development of the nervous system as a trigger for collagen production and subsequent assembly of an extracellular matrix.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)107-114
Number of pages8
JournalCell Differentiation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1988
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to Prof. Nicole Le Douarin for her invaluable advice and support. We thank Dr. Julian Smith for critical comments on the manuscript; Mr. Bernard Guibert for his expert assistance with the HPLC, and Mme Evelyne Bourson for the preparation of the typescript. This work was supported by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and by grants from the Institut National de ia Sant6 et de la Recherche Mrdicale, the Ministrre de la Recherche et de rlndustrie, the Fondation pour la Recherche Mrdicale Fran~aise contre le Cancer and by a Basic Research Grant 1-866 from March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation. C.K. was supported by

Funding Information:
a fellowship from the Fondation pour la Recherche M&ticale Fran~aise.


  • Ciliary ganglion
  • Dorsal root ganglion
  • Embryonic muscle culture
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Neuronal development


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