Open AccessReview
Current Perspectives in Cardiac Laterality
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2016, 3(4), 34; doi:10.3390/jcdd3040034 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The heart is the first organ to break symmetry in the developing embryo and onset of dextral looping is the first indication of this event. Looping is a complex process that progresses concomitantly to cardiac chamber differentiation and ultimately leads to the alignment
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The heart is the first organ to break symmetry in the developing embryo and onset of dextral looping is the first indication of this event. Looping is a complex process that progresses concomitantly to cardiac chamber differentiation and ultimately leads to the alignment of the cardiac regions in their final topology. Generation of cardiac asymmetry is crucial to ensuring proper form and consequent functionality of the heart, and therefore it is a highly regulated process. It has long been known that molecular left/right signals originate far before morphological asymmetry and therefore can direct it. The use of several animal models has led to the characterization of a complex regulatory network, which invariably converges on the Tgf-β signaling molecule Nodal and its downstream target, the homeobox transcription factor Pitx2. Here, we review current data on the cellular and molecular bases of cardiac looping and laterality, and discuss the contribution of Nodal and Pitx2 to these processes. A special emphasis will be given to the morphogenetic role of Pitx2 and to its modulation of transcriptional and functional properties, which have also linked laterality to atrial fibrillation. Full article
Open AccessReview
Management of Mechanical Ventilation in Decompensated Heart Failure
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2016, 3(4), 33; doi:10.3390/jcdd3040033 -
Abstract
Mechanical ventilation (MV) is a life-saving intervention for respiratory failure, including decompensated congestive heart failure. MV can reduce ventricular preload and afterload, decrease extra-vascular lung water, and decrease the work of breathing in heart failure. The advantages of positive pressure ventilation must be
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Mechanical ventilation (MV) is a life-saving intervention for respiratory failure, including decompensated congestive heart failure. MV can reduce ventricular preload and afterload, decrease extra-vascular lung water, and decrease the work of breathing in heart failure. The advantages of positive pressure ventilation must be balanced with potential harm from MV: volutrauma, hyperoxia-induced injury, and difficulty assessing readiness for liberation. In this review, we will focus on cardiac, pulmonary, and broader effects of MV on patients with decompensated HF, focusing on practical considerations for management and supporting evidence. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Genetic and Epigenetic Mechanisms Linking Air Pollution and Congenital Heart Disease
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2016, 3(4), 32; doi:10.3390/jcdd3040032 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Epidemiological studies strongly suggest that parental air pollutants exposure during the periconceptional period may play a major role in causing fetal/newborn malformations, including a frequent heterogeneity in the methods applied and a difficulty in estimating the clear effect of environmental toxicants. Moreover, only
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Epidemiological studies strongly suggest that parental air pollutants exposure during the periconceptional period may play a major role in causing fetal/newborn malformations, including a frequent heterogeneity in the methods applied and a difficulty in estimating the clear effect of environmental toxicants. Moreover, only some couples exposed to toxicants during the pre-conception period give birth to a child with congenital anomalies. The reasons for such phenomena remain elusive but they can be explained by the individual, innate ability to metabolize these contaminants that eventually defines the ultimate dose of a biological active toxicant. In this paper, we reviewed the major evidence regarding the role of parental air pollutant exposure on congenital heart disease (CHD) risk as well as the modulating effect on detoxification systems. Finally, major epigenetic alterations induced by adverse environment contaminants have been revised as possible mechanisms altering a correct heart morphogenesis. Full article
Open AccessReview
Myocarditis in Paediatric Patients: Unveiling the Progression to Dilated Cardiomyopathy and Heart Failure
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2016, 3(4), 31; doi:10.3390/jcdd3040031 -
Abstract
Myocarditis is a challenging and potentially life-threatening disease associated with high morbidity in some paediatric patients, due to its ability to present as an acute and fulminant disease and to ultimately progress to dilated cardiomyopathy. It has been described as an inflammatory disease
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Myocarditis is a challenging and potentially life-threatening disease associated with high morbidity in some paediatric patients, due to its ability to present as an acute and fulminant disease and to ultimately progress to dilated cardiomyopathy. It has been described as an inflammatory disease of the myocardium caused by diverse aetiologies. Viral infection is the most frequent cause of myocarditis in developed countries, but bacterial and protozoal infections or drug hypersensitivity may also be causative agents. The prompt diagnosis in paediatric patients is difficult, as the spectrum of clinical manifestation can range from no myocardial dysfunction to sudden cardiac death. Recent studies on myocarditis pathogenesis have revealed a triphasic nature of this disease, which influences the diagnostic and therapeutic strategies to adopt in each patient. Endomyocardial biopsy remains the gold standard for diagnosing myocarditis, and several non-invasive diagnostic tools can be used to support the diagnosis. Intravenous immunoglobulin has become part of routine practice in the treatment of myocarditis in paediatric patients at many centres, but its true effect on the cardiac function has been the target of many studies. The aim of this review is to approach the recently discovered facets of paediatric myocarditis regarding its progression to dilated cardiomyopathy. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Large Mammalian Animal Models of Heart Disease
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2016, 3(4), 30; doi:10.3390/jcdd3040030 -
Abstract
Due to the biological complexity of the cardiovascular system, the animal model is an urgent pre-clinical need to advance our knowledge of cardiovascular disease and to explore new drugs to repair the damaged heart. Ideally, a model system should be inexpensive, easily manipulated,
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Due to the biological complexity of the cardiovascular system, the animal model is an urgent pre-clinical need to advance our knowledge of cardiovascular disease and to explore new drugs to repair the damaged heart. Ideally, a model system should be inexpensive, easily manipulated, reproducible, a biological representative of human disease, and ethically sound. Although a larger animal model is more expensive and difficult to manipulate, its genetic, structural, functional, and even disease similarities to humans make it an ideal model to first consider. This review presents the commonly-used large animals—dog, sheep, pig, and non-human primates—while the less-used other large animals—cows, horses—are excluded. The review attempts to introduce unique points for each species regarding its biological property, degrees of susceptibility to develop certain types of heart diseases, and methodology of induced conditions. For example, dogs barely develop myocardial infarction, while dilated cardiomyopathy is developed quite often. Based on the similarities of each species to the human, the model selection may first consider non-human primates—pig, sheep, then dog—but it also depends on other factors, for example, purposes, funding, ethics, and policy. We hope this review can serve as a basic outline of large animal models for cardiovascular researchers and clinicians. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperReview
The Dorsal Mesenchymal Protrusion and the Pathogenesis of Atrioventricular Septal Defects
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2016, 3(4), 29; doi:10.3390/jcdd3040029 -
Abstract
Congenital heart malformations are the most common type of defects found at birth. About 1% of infants are born with one or more heart defect on a yearly basis. Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) causes more deaths in the first year of life than
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Congenital heart malformations are the most common type of defects found at birth. About 1% of infants are born with one or more heart defect on a yearly basis. Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) causes more deaths in the first year of life than any other congenital abnormality, and each year, nearly twice as many children die in the United States from CHD as from all forms of childhood cancers combined. Atrioventricular septal defects (AVSD) are congenital heart malformations affecting approximately 1 in 2000 live births. Babies born with an AVSD often require surgical intervention shortly after birth. However, even after successful surgery, these individuals typically have to deal with lifelong complications with the most common being a leaky mitral valve. In recent years the understanding of the molecular etiology and morphological mechanisms associated with the pathogenesis of AVSDs has significantly changed. Specifically, these studies have linked abnormal development of the Dorsal Mesenchymal Protrusion (DMP), a Second Heart Field-derived structure, to the development of this congenital defect. In this review we will be discuss some of the latest insights into the role of the DMP in the normal formation of the atrioventricular septal complex and in the pathogenesis of AVSDs. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Part and Parcel of the Cardiac Autonomic Nerve System: Unravelling Its Cellular Building Blocks during Development
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2016, 3(3), 28; doi:10.3390/jcdd3030028 -
Abstract
The autonomic nervous system (cANS) is essential for proper heart function, and complications such as heart failure, arrhythmias and even sudden cardiac death are associated with an altered cANS function. A changed innervation state may underlie (part of) the atrial and ventricular arrhythmias
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The autonomic nervous system (cANS) is essential for proper heart function, and complications such as heart failure, arrhythmias and even sudden cardiac death are associated with an altered cANS function. A changed innervation state may underlie (part of) the atrial and ventricular arrhythmias observed after myocardial infarction. In other cardiac diseases, such as congenital heart disease, autonomic dysfunction may be related to disease outcome. This is also the case after heart transplantation, when the heart is denervated. Interest in the origin of the autonomic nerve system has renewed since the role of autonomic function in disease progression was recognized, and some plasticity in autonomic regeneration is evident. As with many pathological processes, autonomic dysfunction based on pathological innervation may be a partial recapitulation of the early development of innervation. As such, insight into the development of cardiac innervation and an understanding of the cellular background contributing to cardiac innervation during different phases of development is required. This review describes the development of the cANS and focuses on the cellular contributions, either directly by delivering cells or indirectly by secretion of necessary factors or cell-derivatives. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Heart Failure in Patients with Preserved Ejection Fraction: Questions Concerning Clinical Progression
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2016, 3(3), 27; doi:10.3390/jcdd3030027 -
Abstract
Over the last two decades, important advances have been made in explaining some pathophysiological aspects of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) with repercussions for the successful clinical management of the syndrome. Despite these gains, our knowledge for the natural history of
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Over the last two decades, important advances have been made in explaining some pathophysiological aspects of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) with repercussions for the successful clinical management of the syndrome. Despite these gains, our knowledge for the natural history of clinical progression from the pre-clinical diastolic dysfunction (PDD) until the final clinical stages is significantly limited. The subclinical progression of PDD to the clinical phenotype of HFpEF and the further clinical progression to some more complex clinical models with multi-organ involvement, similar to heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), continue to be poorly understood. Prospective studies are needed to elucidate the natural history of clinical progression in patients with HFpEF and to identify the exact left ventricular remodeling mechanism that underlies this progression. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Function of the MEF2 Family of Transcription Factors in Cardiac Development, Cardiogenomics, and Direct Reprogramming
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2016, 3(3), 26; doi:10.3390/jcdd3030026 -
Abstract
Proper formation of the mammalian heart requires precise spatiotemporal transcriptional regulation of gene programs in cardiomyocytes. Sophisticated regulatory networks have evolved to not only integrate the activities of distinct transcription factors to control tissue-specific gene programs but also, in many instances, to incorporate
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Proper formation of the mammalian heart requires precise spatiotemporal transcriptional regulation of gene programs in cardiomyocytes. Sophisticated regulatory networks have evolved to not only integrate the activities of distinct transcription factors to control tissue-specific gene programs but also, in many instances, to incorporate multiple members within these transcription factor families to ensure accuracy and specificity in the system. Unsurprisingly, perturbations in this elaborate transcriptional circuitry can lead to severe cardiac abnormalities. Myocyte enhancer factor–2 (MEF2) transcription factor belongs to the evolutionarily conserved cardiac gene regulatory network. Given its central role in muscle gene regulation and its evolutionary conservation, MEF2 is considered one of only a few core cardiac transcription factors. In addition to its firmly established role as a differentiation factor, MEF2 regulates wide variety of, sometimes antagonistic, cellular processes such as cell survival and death. Vertebrate genomes encode multiple MEF2 family members thereby expanding the transcriptional potential of this core transcription factor in the heart. This review highlights the requirement of the MEF2 family and their orthologs in cardiac development in diverse animal model systems. Furthermore, we describe the recently characterized role of MEF2 in direct reprogramming and genome-wide cardiomyocyte gene regulation. A thorough understanding of the regulatory functions of the MEF2 family in cardiac development and cardiogenomics is required in order to develop effective therapeutic strategies to repair the diseased heart. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Ciona as a Simple Chordate Model for Heart Development and Regeneration
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2016, 3(3), 25; doi:10.3390/jcdd3030025 -
Abstract
Cardiac cell specification and the genetic determinants that govern this process are highly conserved among Chordates. Recent studies have established the importance of evolutionarily-conserved mechanisms in the study of congenital heart defects and disease, as well as cardiac regeneration. As a basal Chordate,
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Cardiac cell specification and the genetic determinants that govern this process are highly conserved among Chordates. Recent studies have established the importance of evolutionarily-conserved mechanisms in the study of congenital heart defects and disease, as well as cardiac regeneration. As a basal Chordate, the Ciona model system presents a simple scaffold that recapitulates the basic blueprint of cardiac development in Chordates. Here we will focus on the development and cellular structure of the heart of the ascidian Ciona as compared to other Chordates, principally vertebrates. Comparison of the Ciona model system to heart development in other Chordates presents great potential for dissecting the genetic mechanisms that underlie congenital heart defects and disease at the cellular level and might provide additional insight into potential pathways for therapeutic cardiac regeneration. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Stem Cell Therapy and Congenital Heart Disease
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2016, 3(3), 24; doi:10.3390/jcdd3030024 -
Abstract
For more than a decade, stem cell therapy has been the focus of intensive efforts for the treatment of adult heart disease, and now has promise for treating the pediatric population. On the basis of encouraging results in the adult field, the application
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For more than a decade, stem cell therapy has been the focus of intensive efforts for the treatment of adult heart disease, and now has promise for treating the pediatric population. On the basis of encouraging results in the adult field, the application of stem cell-based strategies in children with congenital heart disease (CHD) opens a new therapy paradigm. To date, the safety and efficacy of stem cell-based products to promote cardiac repair and recovery in dilated cardiomyopathy and structural heart disease in infants have been primarily demonstrated in scattered clinical case reports, and supported by a few relevant pre-clinical models. Recently the TICAP trial has shown the safety and feasibility of intracoronary infusion of autologous cardiosphere-derived cells in children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. A focus on preemptive cardiac regeneration in the pediatric setting may offer new insights as to the timing of surgery, location of cell-based delivery, and type of cell-based regeneration that could further inform acquired cardiac disease applications. Here, we review the current knowledge on the field of stem cell therapy and tissue engineering in children with CHD, and discuss the gaps and future perspectives on cell-based strategies to treat patients with CHD. Full article
Open AccessReview
Vascular Development and Regeneration in the Mammalian Heart
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2016, 3(2), 23; doi:10.3390/jcdd3020023 -
Abstract
Cardiovascular diseases including coronary artery disease are the leading cause of death worldwide. Unraveling the developmental origin of coronary vessels could offer important therapeutic implications for treatment of cardiovascular diseases. The recent identification of the endocardial source of coronary vessels reveals a heterogeneous
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Cardiovascular diseases including coronary artery disease are the leading cause of death worldwide. Unraveling the developmental origin of coronary vessels could offer important therapeutic implications for treatment of cardiovascular diseases. The recent identification of the endocardial source of coronary vessels reveals a heterogeneous origin of coronary arteries in the adult heart. In this review, we will highlight recent advances in finding the sources of coronary vessels in the mammalian heart from lineage-tracing models as well as differentiation studies using pluripotent stem cells. Moreover, we will also discuss how we induce neovascularization in the damaged heart through transient yet highly efficient expression of VEGF-modified mRNAs as a potentially therapeutic delivery platform. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Popeye Domain Containing Genes and Their Function in Striated Muscle
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2016, 3(2), 22; doi:10.3390/jcdd3020022 -
Abstract
The Popeye domain containing (POPDC) genes encode a novel class of cAMP effector proteins, which are abundantly expressed in heart and skeletal muscle. Here, we will review their role in striated muscle as deduced from work in cell and animal models and the
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The Popeye domain containing (POPDC) genes encode a novel class of cAMP effector proteins, which are abundantly expressed in heart and skeletal muscle. Here, we will review their role in striated muscle as deduced from work in cell and animal models and the recent analysis of patients carrying a missense mutation in POPDC1. Evidence suggests that POPDC proteins control membrane trafficking of interacting proteins. Furthermore, we will discuss the current catalogue of established protein-protein interactions. In recent years, the number of POPDC-interacting proteins has been rising and currently includes ion channels (TREK-1), sarcolemma-associated proteins serving functions in mechanical stability (dystrophin), compartmentalization (caveolin 3), scaffolding (ZO-1), trafficking (NDRG4, VAMP2/3) and repair (dysferlin) or acting as a guanine nucleotide exchange factor for Rho-family GTPases (GEFT). Recent evidence suggests that POPDC proteins might also control the cellular level of the nuclear proto-oncoprotein c-Myc. These data suggest that this family of cAMP-binding proteins probably serves multiple roles in striated muscle. Full article
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Open AccessReview
A Matter of the Heart: The African Clawed Frog Xenopus as a Model for Studying Vertebrate Cardiogenesis and Congenital Heart Defects
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2016, 3(2), 21; doi:10.3390/jcdd3020021 -
Abstract
The African clawed frog, Xenopus, is a valuable non-mammalian model organism to investigate vertebrate heart development and to explore the underlying molecular mechanisms of human congenital heart defects (CHDs). In this review, we outline the similarities between Xenopus and mammalian cardiogenesis, and provide
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The African clawed frog, Xenopus, is a valuable non-mammalian model organism to investigate vertebrate heart development and to explore the underlying molecular mechanisms of human congenital heart defects (CHDs). In this review, we outline the similarities between Xenopus and mammalian cardiogenesis, and provide an overview of well-studied cardiac genes in Xenopus, which have been associated with congenital heart conditions. Additionally, we highlight advantages of modeling candidate genes derived from genome wide association studies (GWAS) in Xenopus and discuss commonly used techniques. Full article
Open AccessReview
Genome-Wide Approaches to Drosophila Heart Development
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2016, 3(2), 20; doi:10.3390/jcdd3020020 -
Abstract
The development of the dorsal vessel in Drosophila is one of the first systems in which key mechanisms regulating cardiogenesis have been defined in great detail at the genetic and molecular level. Due to evolutionary conservation, these findings have also provided major inputs
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The development of the dorsal vessel in Drosophila is one of the first systems in which key mechanisms regulating cardiogenesis have been defined in great detail at the genetic and molecular level. Due to evolutionary conservation, these findings have also provided major inputs into studies of cardiogenesis in vertebrates. Many of the major components that control Drosophila cardiogenesis were discovered based on candidate gene approaches and their functions were defined by employing the outstanding genetic tools and molecular techniques available in this system. More recently, approaches have been taken that aim to interrogate the entire genome in order to identify novel components and describe genomic features that are pertinent to the regulation of heart development. Apart from classical forward genetic screens, the availability of the thoroughly annotated Drosophila genome sequence made new genome-wide approaches possible, which include the generation of massive numbers of RNA interference (RNAi) reagents that were used in forward genetic screens, as well as studies of the transcriptomes and proteomes of the developing heart under normal and experimentally manipulated conditions. Moreover, genome-wide chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments have been performed with the aim to define the full set of genomic binding sites of the major cardiogenic transcription factors, their relevant target genes, and a more complete picture of the regulatory network that drives cardiogenesis. This review will give an overview on these genome-wide approaches to Drosophila heart development and on computational analyses of the obtained information that ultimately aim to provide a description of this process at the systems level. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Cardiac-Restricted Expression of VCP/TER94 RNAi or Disease Alleles Perturbs Drosophila Heart Structure and Impairs Function
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2016, 3(2), 19; doi:10.3390/jcdd3020019 -
Abstract
Valosin-containing protein (VCP) is a highly conserved mechanoenzyme that helps maintain protein homeostasis in all cells and serves specialized functions in distinct cell types. In skeletal muscle, it is critical for myofibrillogenesis and atrophy. However, little is known about VCP’s role(s) in the
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Valosin-containing protein (VCP) is a highly conserved mechanoenzyme that helps maintain protein homeostasis in all cells and serves specialized functions in distinct cell types. In skeletal muscle, it is critical for myofibrillogenesis and atrophy. However, little is known about VCP’s role(s) in the heart. Its functional diversity is determined by differential binding of distinct cofactors/adapters, which is likely disrupted during disease. VCP mutations cause multisystem proteinopathy (MSP), a pleiotropic degenerative disorder that involves inclusion body myopathy. MSP patients display progressive muscle weakness. They also exhibit cardiomyopathy and die from cardiac and respiratory failure, which are consistent with critical myocardial roles for the enzyme. Nonetheless, efficient models to interrogate VCP in cardiac muscle remain underdeveloped and poorly studied. Here, we investigated the significance of VCP and mutant VCP in the Drosophila heart. Cardiac-restricted RNAi-mediated knockdown of TER94, the Drosophila VCP homolog, severely perturbed myofibrillar organization and heart function in adult flies. Furthermore, expression of MSP disease-causing alleles engendered cardiomyopathy in adults and structural defects in embryonic hearts. Drosophila may therefore serve as a valuable model for examining role(s) of VCP in cardiogenesis and for identifying novel heart-specific VCP interactions, which when disrupted via mutation, contribute to or elicit cardiac pathology. Full article
Open AccessReview
Regulatory Networks that Direct the Development of Specialized Cell Types in the Drosophila Heart
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2016, 3(2), 18; doi:10.3390/jcdd3020018 -
Abstract
The Drosophila cardiac tube was once thought to be a simple linear structure, however research over the past 15 years has revealed significant cellular and molecular complexity to this organ. Prior reviews have focused upon the gene regulatory networks responsible for the specification
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The Drosophila cardiac tube was once thought to be a simple linear structure, however research over the past 15 years has revealed significant cellular and molecular complexity to this organ. Prior reviews have focused upon the gene regulatory networks responsible for the specification of the cardiac field and the activation of cardiac muscle structural genes. Here we focus upon highlighting the existence, function, and development of unique cell types within the dorsal vessel, and discuss their correspondence to analogous structures in the vertebrate heart. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperComment
Of Tracts, Rings, Nodes, Cusps, Sinuses, and Arrhythmias—A Comment on Szili-Torok et al.’s Paper Entitled “The ‘Dead-End Tract’ and Its Role in Arrhythmogenesis”. J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2016, 3, 11
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2016, 3(2), 17; doi:10.3390/jcdd3020017 -
Abstract In the review, now published as part of the special issue devoted to the development of the conduction tissues, de Vries and his colleagues discuss the potential role of the so-called “dead-end tract” as a substrate for arrhythmogenesis [1].[...] Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Postnatal Cardiac Autonomic Nervous Control in Pediatric Congenital Heart Disease
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2016, 3(2), 16; doi:10.3390/jcdd3020016 -
Abstract
Congenital heart disease is the most common congenital defect. During childhood, survival is generally good but, in adulthood, late complications are not uncommon. Abnormal autonomic control in children with congenital heart disease may contribute considerably to the pathophysiology of these long term sequelae.
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Congenital heart disease is the most common congenital defect. During childhood, survival is generally good but, in adulthood, late complications are not uncommon. Abnormal autonomic control in children with congenital heart disease may contribute considerably to the pathophysiology of these long term sequelae. This narrative review of 34 studies aims to summarize current knowledge on function of the autonomic nervous system in children with a congenital heart defect. Large scale studies that measure both branches of the nervous system for prolonged periods of time in well-defined patient cohorts in various phases of childhood and adolescence are currently lacking. Pending such studies, there is not yet a good grasp on the extent and direction of sympathetic and parasympathetic autonomic function in pediatric congenital heart disease. Longitudinal studies in homogenous patient groups linking autonomic nervous system function and clinical outcome are warranted. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperReview
On the Morphology of the Drosophila Heart
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2016, 3(2), 15; doi:10.3390/jcdd3020015 -
Abstract
The circulatory system of Drosophilamelanogaster represents an easily amenable genetic model whose analysis at different levels, i.e., from single molecules up to functional anatomy, has provided new insights into general aspects of cardiogenesis, heart physiology and cardiac aging, to name a
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The circulatory system of Drosophilamelanogaster represents an easily amenable genetic model whose analysis at different levels, i.e., from single molecules up to functional anatomy, has provided new insights into general aspects of cardiogenesis, heart physiology and cardiac aging, to name a few examples. In recent years, the Drosophila heart has also attracted the attention of researchers in the field of biomedicine. This development is mainly due to the fact that several genes causing human heart disease are also present in Drosophila, where they play the same or similar roles in heart development, maintenance or physiology as their respective counterparts in humans. This review will attempt to briefly introduce the anatomy of the Drosophila circulatory system and then focus on the different cell types and non-cellular tissue that constitute the heart. Full article