2018 年 93 巻 2 号 p. 51-58
Melanocytes develop from the vertebrate embryo-specific neural crest, migrate, and localize in various organs, including not only the skin but also several extracutaneous locations such as the heart, inner ear and choroid. Little is known about the functions of extracutaneous melanocytes except for cochlear melanocytes, which are essential for hearing ability. In this study, we focused on the structure of the choroid, in which melanocytes are abundant around the well-developed blood vascular system. By comparing structural differences in the choroid of wild-type and melanocyte-deficient Mitfmi-bw/Mitfmi-bw mutant mice, our observations suggest that choroidal melanocytes contribute to the morphogenesis and/or maintenance of the normal vasculature structure of that tissue.