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J. Dev. Biol., Volume 1, Issue 1 (June 2013), Pages 1-63

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Editorial

Jump to: Review

Open AccessEditorial Developmental Biology — Expanding the Horizon
J. Dev. Biol. 2013, 1(1), 1-2; doi:10.3390/jdb1010001
Received: 12 September 2012 / Accepted: 13 September 2012 / Published: 25 September 2012
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Abstract Developmental biology is arguably the most exciting field of study within the biological sciences. To elucidate how complex organisms develop from a single cell into a complex organism is a quest that has captured the minds of many great scientists. [...] Full article

Review

Jump to: Editorial

Open AccessReview Evolutionary Origin of the Proepicardium
J. Dev. Biol. 2013, 1(1), 3-19; doi:10.3390/jdb1010003
Received: 11 April 2013 / Revised: 13 May 2013 / Accepted: 17 May 2013 / Published: 30 May 2013
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Abstract
The embryonic epicardium and the cardiac mesenchyme derived from it are critical to heart development. The embryonic epicardium arises from an extracardiac progenitor tissue called the proepicardium, a proliferation of coelomic cells located at the limit between the liver and the sinus [...] Read more.
The embryonic epicardium and the cardiac mesenchyme derived from it are critical to heart development. The embryonic epicardium arises from an extracardiac progenitor tissue called the proepicardium, a proliferation of coelomic cells located at the limit between the liver and the sinus venosus. A proepicardium has not been described in invertebrates, and the evolutionary origin of this structure in vertebrates is unknown. We herein suggest that the proepicardium might be regarded as an evolutionary derivative from an ancient pronephric external glomerulus that has lost its excretory role. In fact, we previously described that the epicardium arises by cell migration from the primordia of the right pronephric external glomerulus in a representative of the most primitive vertebrate lineage, the lamprey Petromyzon marinus. In this review, we emphasize the striking similarities between the gene expression profiles of the proepicardium and the developing kidneys, as well as the parallelisms in the signaling mechanisms involved in both cases. We show some preliminary evidence about the existence of an inhibitory mechanism blocking glomerular differentiation in the proepicardium. We speculate as to the possibility that this developmental link between heart and kidney can be revealing a phylogenetically deeper association, supported by the existence of a heart-kidney complex in Hemichordates. Finally, we suggest that primitive hematopoiesis could be related with this heart-kidney complex, thus accounting for the current anatomical association of the hematopoietic stem cells with an aorta-gonad-mesonephros area. In summary, we think that our hypothesis can provide new perspectives on the evolutionary origin of the vertebrate heart. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epicardial Development and Cardiovascular Disease)
Open AccessReview Role of Prokineticin Receptor-1 in Epicardial Progenitor Cells
J. Dev. Biol. 2013, 1(1), 20-31; doi:10.3390/jdb1010020
Received: 27 April 2013 / Revised: 5 June 2013 / Accepted: 8 June 2013 / Published: 18 June 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (484 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) form a large class of seven transmembrane (TM) domain receptors. The use of endogenous GPCR ligands to activate the stem cell maintenance or to direct cell differentiation would overcome many of the problems currently encountered in the use [...] Read more.
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) form a large class of seven transmembrane (TM) domain receptors. The use of endogenous GPCR ligands to activate the stem cell maintenance or to direct cell differentiation would overcome many of the problems currently encountered in the use of stem cells, such as rapid in vitro differentiation and expansion or rejection in clinical applications. This review focuses on the definition of a new GPCR signaling pathway activated by peptide hormones, called “prokineticins”, in epicardium-derived cells (EPDCs). Signaling via prokineticin-2 and its receptor, PKR1, is required for cardiomyocyte survival during hypoxic stress. The binding of prokineticin-2 to PKR1 induces proliferation, migration and angiogenesis in endothelial cells. The expression of prokineticin and PKR1 increases during cardiac remodeling after myocardial infarction. Gain of function of PKR1 in the adult mouse heart revealed that cardiomyocyte-PKR1 signaling activates EPDCs in a paracrine fashion, thereby promoting de novo vasculogenesis. Transient PKR1 gene therapy after myocardial infarction in mice decreases mortality and improves heart function by promoting neovascularization, protecting cardiomyocytes and mobilizing WT1+ cells. Furthermore, PKR1 signaling promotes adult EPDC proliferation and differentiation to adopt endothelial and smooth muscle cell fate, for the induction of de novo vasculogenesis. PKR1 is expressed in the proepicardium and epicardial cells derived from mice kidneys. Loss of PKR1 causes deficits in EPDCs in the neonatal mice hearts and kidneys and impairs vascularization and heart and kidney function. Taken together, these data indicate a novel role for PKR1 in heart-kidney complex via EPDCs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epicardial Development and Cardiovascular Disease)
Open AccessReview Epicardial Lineages
J. Dev. Biol. 2013, 1(1), 32-46; doi:10.3390/jdb1010032
Received: 16 May 2013 / Revised: 10 June 2013 / Accepted: 17 June 2013 / Published: 21 June 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (246 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The epicardium is the mono-layered epithelium that covers the outer surface of the myocardium from early in cardiac development. Long thought to act merely passively to protect the myocardium from frictional forces in the pericardial cavity during the enduring contraction and expansion [...] Read more.
The epicardium is the mono-layered epithelium that covers the outer surface of the myocardium from early in cardiac development. Long thought to act merely passively to protect the myocardium from frictional forces in the pericardial cavity during the enduring contraction and expansion cycles of the heart, it is now considered to be a crucial source of cells and signals that direct myocardial growth and formation of the coronary vasculature during development and regeneration. Lineage tracing efforts in the chick, the mouse and the zebrafish unambiguously identified fibroblasts in interstitial and perivascular locations as well as coronary smooth muscle cells as the two major lineages that derive from epithelial-mesenchymal transition and subsequent differentiation from individual epicardial cells. However, controversies exist about an additional endothelial and myocardial fate of epicardial progenitor cells. Here, we review epicardial fate mapping efforts in three vertebrate model systems, describe their conceptual differences and discuss their methodological limitations to reach a consensus of the potential of (pro-)epicardial cells in vitro and in vivo. Full article
Open AccessReview Microsurgical Procedures for Studying the Developmental Significance of the Proepicardium and Epicardium in Avian Embryos: PE-Blocking, PE-Photoablation, and PE-Grafting
J. Dev. Biol. 2013, 1(1), 47-63; doi:10.3390/jdb1010047
Received: 9 May 2013 / Revised: 13 June 2013 / Accepted: 14 June 2013 / Published: 21 June 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (879 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The epicardium is the outer skin of the mature vertebrate heart. Its embryonic origin and its possible roles in the developing and mature heart did not receive much recognition during the 19th and most of the 20th century. During the past 25 [...] Read more.
The epicardium is the outer skin of the mature vertebrate heart. Its embryonic origin and its possible roles in the developing and mature heart did not receive much recognition during the 19th and most of the 20th century. During the past 25 years, however, the epicardium came into the focus of developmental biology and regenerative medicine. Clinical researchers usually prefer genetically modified mouse models when they want to gain insight into developmental or pathological processes. The story of research on the embryonic epicardium, however, nicely demonstrates the value of non-mammalian species, namely avian species, for elucidating fundamental processes in embryonic and fetal development. Studies on chick and quail embryos have not only led to the identification of the primarily extracardiac source of the epicardium—presently called the proepicardium (PE)—they have also significantly contributed to our current knowledge about the developmental significance of the embryonic epicardium. In this review article, I describe three “classical” microsurgical experiments that have been developed for studying the developmental significance of the PE/epicardium in avian embryos (mechanical PE-blocking, PE-photoablation, orthotopic PE-grafting). Furthermore, I show how these microsurgical experiments have contributed to our current knowledge about the roles of the PE/epicardium in cardiac development. There are still some unsolved aspects in the physiology of the developing epicardium, which may be clarified with the aid of these “classical” microsurgical experiments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epicardial Development and Cardiovascular Disease)

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