Xenopus laevis embryos of stages 14–20 were subjected, for periods of 5–330 min, to hydrostatic pressures ranging from 500 to 10000 psi. The specimens were fixed under corresponding pressures and their neuroepithelium was studied under light and electron microscopy. A pressure of 3000 psi, maintained for as long as 180 min, did not inhibit neurulation though it induced slight deformities of the neuroepithelium. A pressure of 4000 psi, applied for 180 min, disrupted the apical ring of microfilaments and blocked neurulation. The cells lost their dissymmetry. The effect was reversible. Lengthening the duration of treatment to 330 min caused the neuroepithelial cells to loose their microtubules and to become round. This situation was not reversible. Our results indicated that microfilaments are more sensitive than microtubules, that both organelles became increasingly sensitive as the exerted pressure was increased and that microtubules of older embryos exhibited a better resistance. Finally, we showed a correlation between the presence of microfilaments and the constricted state of the cellular apices and a relationship between the presence of microtubules and cell elongation.

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