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Annu Rev Pathol. 2016 May 23;11:395-419. doi: 10.1146/annurev-pathol-012615-044336. Epub 2016 Feb 24.

Genetics of Cardiac Developmental Disorders: Cardiomyocyte Proliferation and Growth and Relevance to Heart Failure.

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Department of Medicine, Center for Genetic Medicine, and Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois 60611; email: ,


Cardiac developmental disorders represent the most common of human birth defects, and anomalies in cardiomyocyte proliferation drive many of these disorders. This review highlights the molecular mechanisms of prenatal cardiac growth. Trabeculation represents the initial ventricular growth phase and is necessary for embryonic survival. Later in development, the bulk of the ventricular wall derives from the compaction process, yet the arrest of this process can still be compatible with life. Cardiomyocyte proliferation and growth form the basis of both trabeculation and compaction, and mouse models indicate that cardiomyocyte interactions with the surrounding environment are critical for these proliferative processes. The human genetics of left ventricular noncompaction cardiomyopathy suggest that cardiomyocyte cell-autonomous mechanisms contribute to the compaction process. Understanding the determinants of prenatal or early postnatal cardiomyocyte proliferation and growth provides critical information that identifies risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including heart failure and its associated complications of arrhythmias and thromboembolic events.


cardiomyopathy; left ventricular noncompaction; myocardial development; noncompaction; trabeculation

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