Antagonistic effects of FGF4 on BMP induction of apoptosis and chondrogenesis in the chick limb bud

R A Buckland, J M Collinson, E Graham, D R Davidson, R E Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In an effort to define the roles of bone morphogenic proteins (BMPs) and fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) during chick limb development more closely, we have implanted beads impregnated with these growth factors into chick limb buds between stages 20 and 26. Embryos were sacrificed at the time the bone chondrocyte condensations first appear (stages 27-28). Implantation of beads containing BMPs at the earlier stages (20-22) caused apoptosis to occur, in the most severe cases leading to complete limb degeneration. Application of FGF4, either in the same, or in a different bead, prevented the BMP-induced apoptosis. We argue that the apoptosis observed on removal of the AER prior to stage 23 of development could be brought about by BMPs. The action of epithelial FGF in preventing BMP-mediated apoptosis in the mesenchyme would define a novel aspect of epithelial-mesenchymal interactions. Implanting the BMP4 beads into the core of the limb bud a day later (stages 25-26) caused intense chondrogenesis rather than apoptosis. FGF4 could again nullify this effect and by itself caused a reduction in bone size. This is the reverse of the functional relationship these growth factors have in mouse tooth specification (where it is BMP4 that inhibits the FGF8 function), and suggests that the balance between the effects of FGFs and BMPs could control the size of the chondrocyte precursor cell pool. In this way members of these two growth factor families could control the size of appendages when they are initially formed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-50
Number of pages8
JournalMechanisms of Development
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1998


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