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Anat Embryol (Berl). 2000 Aug;202(2):95-101.

An atrioventricular canal domain defined by cardiac troponin I transgene expression in the embryonic myocardium.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova, Italy.


During early cardiac development the atrial myocardium is continuous with the ventricular myocardium throughout the atrioventricular canal. The atrioventricular canal undergoes complex remodelling involving septation, formation of atrioventricular valves and insulation between atria and ventricles except at the level of the atrioventricular node. Understanding of these processes has been hampered by the lack of markers specific for this heart region. We have generated transgenic mice expressing beta-galactosidase under the control of the cardiac troponin I gene that show transgene expression mainly confined to the atrioventricular canal myocardium during early embryonic development. With further development beta-galactosidase positive cells are observed in the atrioventricular node and in the lower rim of both right and left atria, supporting the view that atrioventricular canal myocardium contributes to the atrioventricular node and is in part incorporated into the lower rim of the atria. These results identify the atrioventricular canal myocardium as a distinct transcriptional domain.

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