Collaborative Resources for
Learning Developmental Biology
Collaborative Resources for Learning Developmental Biology
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Genesis of the Mammalian Outflow Tract
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Simon Conway

Additional Author(s): Zachary Neeb, Jacquelyn D. Lajiness, Esther Bolanis

Published on SDB CoRe: Mar 1 2013

Morphogenesis: Cell Movements; Cell Shape Changes
Mesoderm-derived: Cardiovascular System
Ectoderm-derived: Neural Crest
Genetic Errors: Chrmosomal Abnormalities; Genetic Mutations
Organism: Mouse
Stage of Development: Embryo

Object Description

The single in utero outflow tract (OFT) that exits the embryonic heart eventually gives rise to separate aortic and pulmonary vessels. OFT abnormalities contribute to 30% of congenital heart defects (CHDs). Significantly, it has been revealed that the OFT and right ventricle of the embryonic heart are formed from extra-cardiac lineages—those outside the primary heart field—including the cardiac neural crest cells (NCC) that originate from the neural tube, and second heart field (SHF) cells that initially reside within the pharyngeal mesoderm. Thus, understanding how these two separate lineages are specified, how their temporally delayed colonization of the heart are controlled, and what functional roles they play are key to understanding the pathogenesis of a wide variety of OFT CHDs. (a,b) Embryonic day 9.5 mouse embryo illustrating origin (black outline) and migration pathways of NCC (blue in a) to OFT truncal cushions, and SHF (red in b) to OFT myocardial cuff and overlying endocardial cells within truncal region. (c) Heart schematic illustrates the final destinations of NCC (blue), SHF cells (red), and conal cushion cells derived from overlying endocardial cells that have undergone an epithelial to mesenchymal transition (green). White and grey tissues are primary heart field-derived. a, atria; AS, aortic sac; AVC, aorto-ventricular cushions; otic, otic placode; optic, optic placode; 1-6, 1st to 6th aortic arches; LV left ventricle; RV, right ventricle.


Neeb, Z., Lajiness, J.D., Bolanis, E., Conway, S.J. Cardiac outflow tract anomalies. WIREs Dev Biol, 2013, Published Online: Feb 19 2013.

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