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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2004 Dec;287(6):R1399-406. Epub 2004 Aug 19.

Body, eye, and chorioallantoic vessel growth are not dependent on cardiac output level in day 3-4 chicken embryos.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, University of North Texas, Denton, TX 76205, USA.


Normal aerobic metabolic rates persist in the early chicken embryo after elimination of cardiac output, but the dependence of tissue growth and differentiation on blood flow is unknown in these early stages. We partially ligated (25-50% occlusion) the ventricular outflow tract of Hamburger-Hamilton stage (HH) 16-18 embryos, producing a wide range of cardiac output. For the next approximately 48 h (to HH 24), we measured heart rate (HR), stroke volume (SV), and cardiac output (CO), as well as these growth indicators: eye diameter, chorioallantoic vessel density, and body mass. Acutely, HR declined with partial ligation (from 108 to 98 beats/min). Paradoxically, SV and CO decreased sharply in most embryos but increased in others, collectively producing the desired large variation (up to 25-fold) in CO and permitting assessment of tissue growth over a very large range of blood perfusion. Eye diameter doubled (from 0.6 to 1.2 mm) with development from HH 16 to HH 24, but within a developmental cohort there was no significant correlation between eye diameter and CO over a 25-fold range of CO. Similarly, chorioallantoic membrane vessel index was independent of CO over the CO range at all stages. Finally, body mass increase during development was not significantly affected by partial conal truncal ligation. Collectively, these data suggest that normal eye and vessel growth and body mass accumulation occur independent of their rate of blood perfusion, supporting the hypothesis of prosynchronotropy-that the heart begins to beat and generate blood flow in advance of the actual need for convective blood flow to tissues.

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