Ectomesenchyme derived from cardiac neural crest is critical to aorticopulmonary septation in the heart. However, any unique contribution of the cardiac ectomesenchyme to the extracellular matrix of the conotruncus has not been demonstrated previously.
In this study the chronology and topography of soluble tropoelastin (STE) and the aldehyde-rich protein (ARP) of the elastic connective tissues have been examined in the chick embryo, stages 21–38, and in the quail-chick chimera, stages 24–35 (quail neural fold grafted onto a chick embryo). STE was located with immunofluorescence histochemistry, and ARP with Schiff's reagent. With these procedures prevenient site of elastin synthesis are observed readily.
The results show that the myocardium proper appears to have a role in the instigation of elastogenesis and in elastic fiber orientation; that the mesenchymal cells whose matrix contains elastic fibers are ectomensenchymal, of neural crest origin; and that elastin is deployed in an orderly proximal-distal sequence.
It is hypothesized that elastogenesis is a critical event in aorticopulmonary septation.