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Curr Top Dev Biol. 2012;100:33-65. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-387786-4.00002-6.

The second heart field.

Author information

1
Developmental Biology Institute of Marseilles-Luminy, Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS UMR 7288, Marseilles, France.

Abstract

Ten years ago, a population of cardiac progenitor cells was identified in pharyngeal mesoderm that gives rise to a major part of the amniote heart. These multipotent progenitor cells, termed the second heart field (SHF), contribute progressively to the poles of the elongating heart tube during looping morphogenesis, giving rise to myocardium, smooth muscle, and endothelial cells. Research into the mechanisms of SHF development has contributed significantly to our understanding of the properties of cardiac progenitor cells and the origins of congenital heart defects. Here recent data concerning the regulation, clinically relevant subpopulations, evolution and lineage relationships of the SHF are reviewed. Proliferation and differentiation of SHF cells are controlled by multiple intercellular signaling pathways and a transcriptional regulatory network that is beginning to be elucidated. Perturbation of SHF development results in common forms of congenital heart defects and particular progenitor cell subpopulations are highly relevant clinically, including cells giving rise to myocardium at the base of the pulmonary trunk and the interatrial septum. A SHF has recently been identified in amphibian, fish, and agnathan embryos, highlighting the important contribution of these cells to the evolution of the vertebrate heart. Finally, SHF-derived parts of the heart share a lineage relationship with craniofacial skeletal muscles revealing that these progenitor cells belong to a broad cardiocraniofacial field of pharyngeal mesoderm. Investigation of the mechanisms underlying the dynamic process of SHF deployment is likely to yield further insights into cardiac development and pathology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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