• activin-A;
  • anterolateral endoderm;
  • bone morphogenetic protein;
  • cardiac specification;
  • cerberus;
  • endocardium;
  • fibroblast growth factor;
  • Nkx-2.5;
  • non-precardiac mesoderm;
  • precardiac mesoderm;
  • transforming growth factorβ;
  • vascular endothelial growth factor;
  • Wnt


Since the first half of the 20th century, experimental embryologists have noted a relationship between endoderm cells and the development of cardiac tissue from mesoderm. During the past decade, the accumulation of evidence for an obligatory interaction between endoderm and mesoderm during the specification and terminal differentiation of myocardial, and more recently endocardial, cells has markedly accelerated. Moreover, the endoderm-derived molecules that may regulate these processes are being identified. It now appears that endoderm-derived growth factors regulate the formation of both myocardial and endocardial cells during specification, terminal differentiation, and perhaps morphogenesis of cells in the developing embryonic heart. Dev Den;217:327–342. © 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.