J. Dev. Biol.2014, 2(2), 117-137; doi:10.3390/jdb2020117 (doi registration under processing) - published online 23 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The discovery of stem and progenitor cells in the adult mammalian heart has added a vital dimension to the field of cardiac regeneration. Cardiac-resident stem cells are likely sequestered as reserve cells within myocardial niches during the course of embryonic cardiogenesis, although they may also be recruited from external sources, such as bone marrow. As we begin to understand the nature of cardiac-resident stem and progenitor cells using a variety of approaches, it is evident that they possess an identity embedded within their gene regulatory networks that favours cardiovascular lineage potential. In addition to contributing lineage descendants, cardiac stem cells may also be stress sensors, offering trophic cues to other cell types, including cardiomyocytes and vasculature cells, and likely other stem cells and immune cells, during adaptation and repair. This presents numerous possibilities for endogenous cardiac stem and progenitor cells to be used in cell therapies or as targets in heart rejuvenation. In this review, we focus on the epicardium as an endogenous source of multi-potential mesenchymal progenitor cells in development and as a latent source of such progenitors in the adult. We track the origin and plasticity of the epicardium in embryos and adults in both homeostasis and disease. In this context, we ask whether directed activation of epicardium-derived progenitor cells might have therapeutic application.
J. Dev. Biol.2014, 2(2), 101-116; doi:10.3390/jdb2020101 - published online 11 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The epicardium is the mesothelial outer layer of the vertebrate heart. It plays an important role during cardiac development by, among other functions, nourishing the underlying myocardium, contributing to cardiac fibroblasts and giving rise to the coronary vasculature. The epicardium also exerts key functions during injury responses in the adult and contributes to cardiac repair. In this article, we review current knowledge on the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying epicardium formation in the zebrafish, a teleost fish, which is rapidly gaining status as an animal model in cardiovascular research, and compare it with the mechanisms described in other vertebrate models. We moreover describe the expression patterns of a subset of available zebrafish Wilms’ tumor 1 transgenic reporter lines and discuss their specificity, applicability and limitations in the study of epicardium formation.
J. Dev. Biol.2014, 2(2), 84-100; doi:10.3390/jdb2020084 - published online 10 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In the last decade, cell replacement therapy has emerged as a potential approach to treat patients suffering from myocardial infarction (MI). The transplantation or local stimulation of progenitor cells with the ability to form new cardiac tissue provides a novel strategy to overcome the massive loss of myocardium after MI. In this regard the epicardium, the outer layer of the heart, is a tractable local progenitor cell population for therapeutic pursuit. The epicardium has a crucial role in formation of the embryonic heart. After activation and migration into the developing myocardium, epicardial cells differentiate into several cardiac cells types. Additionally, the epicardium provides instructive signals for the growth of the myocardium and coronary angiogenesis. In the adult heart, the epicardium is quiescent, but recent evidence suggests that it becomes reactivated upon damage and recapitulates at least part of its embryonic functions. In this review we provide an update on the current knowledge regarding the contribution of epicardial cells to the adult mammalian heart during the injury response.
J. Dev. Biol.2014, 2(2), 72-83; doi:10.3390/jdb2020072 - published online 8 April 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: One of the more intriguing subjects in neuroscience is how a precursor or stem cell is induced to differentiate into a neuron. Neurogenesis begins early in brain development and suddenly becomes a very intense process, which is related with the influence of Retinoic Acid. Here, using a biological test (F9-1.8 cells) in chick embryos, we show that “in vivo” embryonic cerebrospinal fluid regulates mesencephalic-rombencephalic Isthmic Retinoic Acid synthesis and this effect has a direct influence on mesencephalic neuroepithelial precursors, inducing a significant increase in neurogenesis. This effect is mediated by the Retinol Binding Protein present in the embryonic cerebrospinal fluid. The knowledge of embryonic neurogenetic stimulus could be useful in the control of adult brain neurogenesis.
J. Dev. Biol.2014, 2(1), 50-71; doi:10.3390/jdb2010050 - published online 21 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Retinoic acid (RA), a derivative of vitamin A, is involved in signal transduction during vertebrate organogenesis. Retinoids through binding to nuclear receptors called RA receptors (RARs) and retinoid X receptors (RXRs) regulate various processes during cardiogenesis. Deregulated retinoid signaling thus has later consequences leading to cardiac malformations. In this review, we will summarize and discuss our current knowledge on the role of RA signaling during heart development, especially during patterning of the heart fields. We have also integrated recent experiments essential for our understanding of the role of RA signaling during epicardial development and myocardial growth.
J. Dev. Biol.2014, 2(1), 34-49; doi:10.3390/jdb2010034 - published online 21 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Vitamin A has been shown to be essential for a multitude of biological processes vital for mammalian development and homeostasis. Its active metabolite, retinoic acid (RA), is important for establishing and maintaining proper germ cell development. During spermatogenesis, the germ cells orient themselves in very distinct patterns, which have been organized into stages. There is evidence to show that, in the mouse, RA is needed for many steps during germ cell development. Interestingly, RA has been implicated as playing a role within the same two Stages: VII and VIII, where meiosis is initiated and spermiation occurs. The goal of this review is to outline this evidence, exploring the relevant players in retinoid metabolism, storage, transport, and signaling. Finally, this review will provide a potential model for how RA activity is organized across the murine stages of the spermatogenic cycle.