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Heart field: from mesoderm to heart tube.

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Department of Pediatrics, Neonatal-Perinatal Research Institute, Duke University, Durham, NC 27712, USA.


In this review we discuss the major morphogenetic and regulative events that control myocardial progenitor cells from the time that they delaminate from the epiblast in the primitive streak to their differentiation into cardiomyocytes in the heart tube. During chick and mouse embryogenesis, myocardial progenitor cells go through four specific processes that are sequential but overlapping: specification of the cardiogenic mesoderm, determination of the bilaterally symmetric heart fields, patterning of the heart field, and finally cardiomyocyte differentiation and formation of the heart tube. We describe the morphological and molecular events that play a pivotal role in each of these four processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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