Neural crest cells give rise to non-myogenic mesenchymal tissue in the adult murid ear pinna
pubmed: wnt1 2023-12-08
bioRxiv. 2023 Aug 7:2023.08.06.552195. doi: 10.1101/2023.08.06.552195. Preprint.
Despite being a major target of reconstructive surgery, development of the external ear pinna remains poorly studied. As a craniofacial organ highly accessible to manipulation and highly conserved among mammals, the ear pinna represents a valuable model for the study of appendage development and wound healing in the craniofacial complex. Here we provide a cellular characterization of late gestational and postnatal ear pinna development in Mus musculus and Acomys cahirinus and demonstrate that ear pinna development is largely conserved between these species. Using Wnt1-cre;ROSAmT/mG mice we find that connective tissue fibroblasts, elastic cartilage, dermal papilla cells, dermal sheath cells, vasculature, and adipocytes in the adult pinna are derived from cranial crest. In contrast, we find that skeletal muscle and hair follicles are not derived from neural crest cells. Cellular analysis using the naturally occurring short ear mouse mutant shows that elastic cartilage does not develop properly in distal pinna due to impaired chondroprogenitor proliferation. Interestingly, while chondroprogenitors develop in a mostly continuous sheet, the boundaries of cartilage loss in the short ear mutant strongly correlate with locations of vasculature-conveying foramen. Concomitant with loss of elastic cartilage we report increased numbers of adipocytes, but this seems to be a state acquired in adulthood rather than a developmental abnormality. In addition, chondrogenesis remains impaired in the adult mid-distal ear pinna of these mutants. Together these data establish a developmental basis for the study of the ear pinna with intriguing insights into the development of elastic cartilage.