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Anat Embryol (Berl). 2004 Aug;208(5):389-93. Epub 2004 Jul 10.

The neural crest is contiguous with the cardiac conduction system in the mouse embryo: a role in induction?

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Department of Anatomy and Embryology, Leiden University Medical Center, Wassenaarseweg 62, PO 9602, Leiden, The Netherlands.


In this study we present data on the spatial relationship between neural crest-derived cells (NCC) and the specialized cardiac conduction system (CCS) in the developing murine heart. Using Wnt1-Cre/R26R conditional reporter mice that express beta-galactosidase from ROSA26 upon Cre-mediated recombination, two populations of NCC are seen: one migrates through the arterial pole and contributes to the bundle branches, whereas the second population enters by way of the venous pole and provides cells to the sinoatrial and atrioventricular node areas. The CCS/ lacZ construct is found in the myocardium of the early embryonic heart and afterward only persists in the definitive CCS and is acknowledged as a reporter for the developing conduction system. The contiguous expression of both reporters is suggestive for a potential role of cardiac NCC in the induction of the final differentiation of the CCS.

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