Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling mediates reciprocal mesenchymal-epithelial cell interactions in the developing mouse lung limb. In the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, FGF10 is expressed in the cecal mesenchyme and signals to an epithelial splice form of FGF receptor (FGFR) 2 to regulate epithelial budding. Here, we identify FGF9 as a reciprocal epithelial-mesenchymal signal required for cecal morphogenesis. Fgf9 null (Fgf9+) mouse embryos have agenesis of the embryonic cecum, lacking both mesenchymal expansion and an epithelial bud. In the cecal region of Fgf9+ embryos, mesenchymal expression of Fgf10 and Bmp4 is notably absent, whereas the expression of epithelial markers, such as sonic hedgehog, is not affected. Using epithelial and whole explant cultures, we show that FGF9 signals to mesenchymal FGFRs and that FGF10 signals to epithelial FGFRs. Taken together, these data show that an epithelial FGF9 signal is necessary for the expansion of cecal mesenchyme and the expression of mesenchymal genes that are required for epithelial budding. Thus, these data add to our understanding of FGF-mediated reciprocal epithelial-mesenchymal signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-180
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Budding morphogenesis
  • Cecum
  • Epithelial-mesenchymal cross-talk
  • FGF10
  • Fibroblast growth factor 9 (FGF9)
  • Gut development


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