Postnatal histomorphogenesis of the mandible in the house mouse

Cayetana Martinez-Maza, Laëtitia Montes, Hayat Lamrous, Jacint Ventura, Jorge Cubo

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12 Citations (Scopus)


The mandible of the house mouse, Mus musculus, is a model structure for the study of the development and evolution of complex morphological systems. This research describes the histomorphogenesis of the house mouse mandible and analyses its biological significance from the first to the eighth postnatal weeks. Histological data allowed us to test a hypothesis concerning modularity in this structure. We measured the bone growth rates by fluorescent labelling and identified the bone tissue types through microscopic analysis of histological cross-sections of the mandible during its postnatal development. The results provide evidence for a modular structure of the mouse mandible, as the alveolar region and the ascending ramus show histological differences throughout ontogeny. The alveolar region increases in length during the first two postnatal weeks by bone growth in the posterior region, while horizontally positioned incisors preclude bone growth in the anterior region. In the fourth postnatal week, growth dynamics shows a critical change. The alveolar region drifts laterally and the ramus becomes more vertical due to the medial growth direction of the coronoid region and the lateral growth of the ventral region of the ramus. Diet changes after weaning are probably involved in these morphological changes. In this way, the development of the masticatory muscles that insert on the ascending ramus may be particularly related to this shape modeling of the house mouse mandible. © 2012 The Authors. Journal of Anatomy © 2012 Anatomical Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)472-483
JournalJournal of Anatomy
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2012


  • Bone histology
  • Development
  • Mandible
  • Modularity
  • Morphology
  • Mus musculus
  • Postnatal growth


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