Second lineage of heart forming region provides new understanding of conotruncal heart defects


Yuji Nakajima, MD, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka City University, 1-4-3 Asahimachi, Abenoku, Osaka, 545-8585 Japan. Email:


Abnormal heart development causes various congenital heart defects. Recent cardiovascular biology studies have elucidated the morphological mechanisms involved in normal and abnormal heart development. The primitive heart tube originates from the lateral-most part of the heart forming mesoderm and mainly gives rise to the left ventricle. Then, during the cardiac looping, the outflow tract is elongated by the addition of cardiogenic cells from the both pharyngeal and splanchnic mesoderm (corresponding to anterior and secondary heart field, respectively), which originate from the mediocaudal region of the heart forming mesoderm and are later located anteriorly (rostrally) to the dorsal region of the heart tube. Therefore, the heart progenitors that contribute to the outflow tract region are distinct from those that form the left ventricle. The knowledge that there are two different lineages of heart progenitors in the four-chambered heart provides new understanding of the morphological and molecular etiology of conotruncal heart defects.