The ossification pathways of both vertebral centra (i.e., vertebral bodies) and neural arches were studied in human embryos and fetuses (CR-length between 38 and 116 mm). A clearing and double-staining method for whole embryo or fetus, using alcian blue and alizarin red S, allowed an easy and precise detection of the morphology of the whole vertebral column and every single vertebra. Both cartilaginous and bony components were clearly visible. Different temporal and topographical patterns of ossification were shown for the centra and arches; the latter were respectively proximal-distal (i.e., bidirectional from a defined starting tract in T10-L1) and cranial-caudal (i.e., monodirectional). The patterns could be related to the morphogenetic processes of other structures (i.e., muscles and nerves). Moreover, the numerical survey of ossification centers provided a possible parameter for the determination of the fetal developmental age. This could be useful in the study of pathological conditions.
Developmental Pathways Of Vertebral Centra And Neural Arches In Human Embryos And Fetuses / R., Bareggi; V., Grill; M. A., Sandrucci; G., Baldini; DE POL, Anto; Forabosco, Antonino; P., Narducci. - In: ANATOMY AND EMBRYOLOGY. - ISSN 0340-2061. - STAMPA. - 187(2):(1993), pp. 139-144.