Temporal–spatial ablation of neural crest in the mouse results in cardiovascular defects



Neural crest cells are thought to play a critical role in human conotruncal morphogenesis and dysmorphogenesis. Much of our understanding of the contribution of neural crest to cardiovascular patterning comes from ablation and transplantation experiments in avian species. Although fate mapping experiments in mice suggests a conservation of function, the functional requirement for neural crest in cardiovascular development in mammals has not been formally tested. We used a novel two component genetic system for the temporal–spatial ablation of neural crest in the mouse. Affected embryos displayed a spectrum of cardiovascular outflow tract defects and aortic arch patterning abnormalities. We show that the severity of the cardiovascular phenotype is directly related to the level and extent of neural crest ablation. This is the first report of cardiac neural crest ablation in mammals, and it provides important insight into the role of the mammalian neural crest during cardiovascular development. Developmental Dynamics 237:153–162, 2008. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.