The effect of olfactory placode transplantation on the differentiation of the optic vesicle and stalk has been studied in Xenopus laevis embryos. Host embryos (stages 23-24) received the transplant of two olfactory placodes from same-stage donors in place of a partially or totally removed optic vesicle. All tadpoles were sacrificed at stages 47-50. The host tadpoles were subdivided in three groups according to the amount of optic vesicle removed. In the first group all of the optic vesicle was removed. At sacrifice a lobar mass of nervous tissue, continuous with and protruding from the diencephalic wall, was penetrated by the olfactory nerves from the transplanted placodes and a well-defined glomerular layer was present at the entrance zone of the olfactory nerves. The lobar protrusion contained a normal ventricular cavity, connected by a foramen to the third ventricle. The ventricle was lined by a mitotically active ependymal layer. In the second group the host embryos were deprived of two-thirds of the optic vesicle. In these animals we observed the development of a round mass of nervous tissue connected by a peduncle to the diencephalic wall. A ventricle lined by ependyma was present in the formation; however, the cavity was not continuous with the third ventricle. Olfactory nerves from the transplanted placodes penetrated the rostral portion of the nervous mass and formed a distinct glomerular layer. In the third group of embryos only one-third of the optic vesicle was removed. These animals developed irregularly shaped structures where ocular tissue and nervous tissue coexisted. The termination of the supranumerary olfactory nerves and the glomerular layer were restricted to the non-ocular nervous tissue. The interpretation of the histogenetic phenomena determining the protrusions is difficult and further studies are needed. It seems highly probable, however, that the fate of such determined structures as the optic peduncle and vesicle can be influenced by the olfactory input, supporting the hypothesis that the ectopically directed olfactory fibres interfere with the differentiation of the optic structures.
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