J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis.2014, 1(1), 3-13; doi:10.3390/jcdd1010003 - published online 3 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: During early development, the heart tube grows by progressive addition of progenitor cells to the arterial and venous poles. These cardiac progenitor cells, originally identified in 2001, are located in the splanchnic mesoderm in a region termed the second heart field (SHF). Since its discovery, our view of heart development has been refined and it is well established that perturbation in the addition of SHF cells results in a spectrum of congenital heart defects. We have previously shown that anterior Hox genes, including Hoxb1, Hoxa1 and Hoxa3, are expressed in distinct subdomains of the SHF that contribute to atrial and subpulmonary myocardium. It is well known that Hox proteins exert their function through interaction with members of the TALE family, including Pbx and Meis factors.The expression profile of Pbx and Meis factors overlaps with that of anterior Hox factors in the embryonic heart, and recent data suggest that they may interact together during cardiac development. This review aims to bring together recent findings in vertebrates that strongly suggest an important function for Hox, Pbx and Meis factors in heart development and disease.
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis.2014, 1(1), 1-2; doi:10.3390/jcdd1010001 - published online 8 November 2013 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number one cause of death worldwide. According to a recent report from the World Health Organization, an estimated 17.3 million people died from CVDs in 2008, representing 30% of all global deaths. Despite significant advances in surgical approaches and increased survival rate, congenital heart disease (CHD) is still the primary cause of birth defect-related deaths in the western world. More than half of all babies born with a cardiac abnormality will require at least one invasive surgery in their lifetime. As a result of improvement in surgical procedures, many babies who once would have died of CHD now survive into adulthood. In fact, the number of adults with CHD in the USA is now greater than the number of babies born with CHD. However, many adults with congenital heart disease are suffering from functional abnormalities, including arrhythmias and heart failure [1,2] and require lifelong care. The cardiovascular problems can be either intrinsic to the perturbation of developmental events that led to the structural malformations in the first place, or can result from acquired conditions related to scar tissues resulting from the surgical procedures. The primary goals of cardiovascular developmental research are to elucidate the mechanisms that govern normal cardiac development and to determine the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in the etiology of CHD. In addition, as it becomes increasingly clear that many so-called acquired heart diseases may also have developmental origins, an additional goal of cardiovascular developmental biologists is to identify the early events that may play a role in the pathogenesis of acquired diseases, such as mitral valve prolapse.