Hypoblast/visceral endoderm assists in amniote nutrition, axial positioning and formation of the gut. Here, we provide evidence, currently limited to humans and non-human primates, that hypoblast is a purveyor of extraembryonic mesoderm in the mouse gastrula. Fate mapping a unique segment of axial extraembryonic visceral endoderm associated with the allantoic component of the primitive streak, and referred to as the "AX", revealed that visceral endoderm supplies the placentae with extraembryonic mesoderm. Exfoliation of the AX was dependent upon contact with the primitive streak, which modulated Hedgehog signaling. Resolution of the AX's epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) by Hedgehog shaped the allantois into its characteristic projectile and individualized placental arterial vessels. A unique border cell separated the delaminating AX from the yolk sac blood islands which, situated beyond the limit of the streak, were not formed by an EMT. Over time, the AX became the hindgut lip, which contributed extensively to the posterior interface, including both embryonic and extraembryonic tissues. The AX, in turn, imparted antero-posterior (A-P) polarity on the primitive streak and promoted its elongation and differentiation into definitive endoderm. Results of heterotopic grafting supported mutually interactive functions of the AX and primitive streak, showing that together, they self-organized into a complete version of the fetal-placental interface, forming an elongated structure that exhibited A-P polarity and was composed of the allantois, an AX-derived rod-like axial extension reminiscent of the embryonic notochord, the placental arterial vasculature and visceral endoderm/hindgut.
Vasomotor symptoms (VMS; or hot flashes) plague millions of reproductive-aged men and women who have natural or iatrogenic loss of sex steroid production. Many affected individuals are left without treatment options because of contraindications to hormone replacement therapy and the lack of equally effective nonhormonal alternatives. Moreover, development of safer, more effective therapies has been stymied by the lack of an animal model that recapitulates the hot-flash phenomenon and enables direct testing of hypotheses regarding the pathophysiology underlying hot flashes. To address these problems, we developed a murine model for hot flashes and a comprehensive method for measuring autonomic and behavioral thermoregulation in mice. We designed and constructed an instrument called a thermocline that produces a thermal gradient along which mice behaviorally adapt to a thermal challenge to their core body temperature set point while their thermal preference over time is tracked and recorded. We tested and validated this murine model for VMS by administration of a TRPV1 agonist and a neurokinin B receptor agonist, capsaicin and senktide, respectively, to unrestrained mice and observed their autonomic and behavioral responses. Following both treatments, the mice exhibited a VMS-like response characterized by a drop in core body temperature and cold-seeking behavior on the thermocline. Senktide also caused a rise in tail skin temperature and increased Fos expression in the median preoptic area, a hypothalamic temperature control center. This dynamic model may be used to fully explore the cellular and molecular bases for VMS and to develop and test new therapeutic options.