The craniofacial skeleton is formed from the neural crest and mesodermal lineages, both of which contribute mesenchymal precursors during formation of the skull bones. The large majority of cranial sutures also include a proportion of neural crest derived mesenchyme. While some studies have addressed the relative healing abilities of neural crest and mesodermal bone, relatively little attention has been paid to differences in intrinsic osteogenic potential. Here we use mouse models to compare neural crest osteoblasts (from frontal bones or dura mater) to mesodermal osteoblasts (from parietal bones). Using in vitro culture approaches we find that neural crest-derived osteoblasts readily generate bony nodules while mesodermal osteoblasts do so less efficiently. Furthermore, we find that co-culture of neural crest-derived osteoblasts with mesodermal osteoblasts is sufficient to nucleate ossification centres. All together, this suggests that the intrinsic osteogenic abilities of neural crest-derived mesenchyme may be a primary driver behind craniosynostosis.
- Dura mater
- Neural crest