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Updated: Nov 9 2021

Germ Layer Derivatives

  • Ectoderm
    • Surface ectoderm
      • lens of the eye
      • sensory organs
        • ear
        • olfactory epithelium
      • epithelial linings
        • oral cavity
        • lower anal canal
        • external auditory meatus
      • epidermis, hair, and nails
      • mammary, sweat, and salivary glands
    • Neuroectoderm - CNS and brain
      • brain - all neurons within brain and spinal cord/CNS
        • neurohypophysis
        • oligodendrocytes
        • astrocytes
        • ependymal cells
        • pineal gland
      • retina
    • Neural Crest - PNS and nearby non-neural structures
      • ANS
      • enteric nervous system
      • ganglia (dorsal root, cranial, and autonomic)
      • cranial nerves
      • celiac ganglion
      • chromaffin cells of adrenal medulla
      • enterochromaffin cells
      • Schwann cells
      • pia and arachnoid
      • bones of the skull
      • odontoblasts
      • aorticopulmonary septum
  • Endoderm
    • Epithelium lining of
      • respiratory: trachea, bronchi, and lungs
      • urinary: urinary bladder, female urethra, and majority of male urethra
      • GI tract
      • biliary system
      • lower 2/3 of vagina
      • middle ear cavity and auditory tube
    • Liver
    • Parathyroid
    • Thyroid follicular cells
    • Thymus
    • Pancreas
    • Parafollicular (C) cells of thyroid
  • Mesoderm
    • Muscle (smooth, cardiac, and skeletal)
    • Dermis and subcutaneous layers of skin
    • Bone, cartilage, and connective tissue
    • Dura mater
    • Serous linings of body cavities
      • peritoneum
    • Spleen
    • Cardiovascular structures
    • Lymphatics
    • Laryngeal cartilage
    • Blood: RBCs, WBCs, Kupffer cells, and microglia
    • Urogenital structures
      • male:testes, epididymis, ductus deferens, seminal vesicle, and ejaculatory duct
      • female: ovaries, uterus, uterine tubes, and upper 1/3 of vagina
    • Kidneys
    • Adrenal cortex
  • Defects
    • Types of errors
      • malformation vs. deformation
        • malformation is intrinsic embryological disruption during the embryonic period
        • deformation is extrinsic disruption, occurs after embryonic period
      • agenesis vs. hypoplasia vs. aplasia
        • agenesis = organ is absent because of absent primordial tissue
          • e.g., renal agenesis - failure of one or both kidneys to develop
        • hypoplasia = organ develops incompletely with remnant primordial tissue
          • e.g., microorchidism in Klinefelter syndrome
        • aplasia = organ absent but primordial tissue present
          • e.g., thymic aplasia in DiGeorge syndrome
    • Craniopharyngioma
      • benign Rathke's pouch tumor containing cholesterol crystals and calcifications, tends to compress the optic chiasm
    • Mesodermal defects VACTERL
      • Vertebral defects: usually small hypoplastic vertebrae or hemivertebrae, only half of the bone is formed
      • Anal atresia/imperforate anus
      • Cardiac defects: ventricular septal defect, atrial septal defect, and Tetralogy of Fallot
      • Tracheo-Esophageal fistula
      • Renal defects: incomplete formation of one or both kidneys
      • Limb defects: absent or displaced thumbs, polydactyly, and syndactyly
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