Öz Cadmium is one of the most toxic metals that has high environmental stability and can hardly be converted into substances of low toxicity. In the present study, the effects of cadmium on the development of somites of chick embryos under in vitro conditions were investigated. First, fertilized eggs were incubated until they reached the stage of 15?20 somites. The embryos were then separated from the yolk by using the window technique. The somites were separated by insulin needles under a stereomicroscope. The separated somites were then transferred to Dulbecco?s modified Eagle?s medium (DMEM) stock culture and treated with different concentrations of cadmium nitrate (0, 500, 1000, 2000, and 4000 ng/mL). After 72 h, the diameter of the nucleus, cell morphology, and extracellular matrix compounds were examined. Our results indicated that cadmium disrupted the developmental process of the somites. The microscopic studies of the somites, based on a histological technique, indicated that cadmium induced apoptosis in somite cells and also decreased the chondrogenesis and collagen synthesis. Therefore, somites are considered suitable temporary embryonic organs and interesting models for basic developmental study under in vitro conditions. Moreover, it might be possible to use somites in vitro for studying the effects of trace elements on living organisms.
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