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PLoS One. 2013 Jun 5;8(6):e63651. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0063651. Print 2013.

Development of the hearts of lizards and snakes and perspectives to cardiac evolution.

Author information

1
Department of Bioscience-Zoophysiology, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark. bjarke.jensen@biology.au.dk

Abstract

Birds and mammals both developed high performance hearts from a heart that must have been reptile-like and the hearts of extant reptiles have an unmatched variability in design. Yet, studies on cardiac development in reptiles are largely old and further studies are much needed as reptiles are starting to become used in molecular studies. We studied the growth of cardiac compartments and changes in morphology principally in the model organism corn snake (Pantherophis guttatus), but also in the genotyped anole (Anolis carolinenis and A. sagrei) and the Philippine sailfin lizard (Hydrosaurus pustulatus). Structures and chambers of the formed heart were traced back in development and annotated in interactive 3D pdfs. In the corn snake, we found that the ventricle and atria grow exponentially, whereas the myocardial volumes of the atrioventricular canal and the muscular outflow tract are stable. Ventricular development occurs, as in other amniotes, by an early growth at the outer curvature and later, and in parallel, by incorporation of the muscular outflow tract. With the exception of the late completion of the atrial septum, the adult design of the squamate heart is essentially reached halfway through development. This design strongly resembles the developing hearts of human, mouse and chicken around the time of initial ventricular septation. Subsequent to this stage, and in contrast to the squamates, hearts of endothermic vertebrates completely septate their ventricles, develop an insulating atrioventricular plane, shift and expand their atrioventricular canal toward the right and incorporate the systemic and pulmonary venous myocardium into the atria.

PMID:
23755108
PMCID:
PMC3673951
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0063651
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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