Functional coronary circulation is essential for a healthy heart in warm-blooded vertebrates, and coronary diseases can have a fatal consequence. Despite the growing interest, the knowledge about the coronary vessel development and the roles of new coronary vessel formation during heart regeneration is still limited. It is demonstrated that early revascularization is required for efficient heart regeneration. In this comprehensive review, we first describe the coronary vessel formation from an evolutionary perspective. We further discuss the cell origins of coronary endothelial cells and perivascular cells and summarize the critical signaling pathways regulating coronary vessel development. Lastly, we focus on the current knowledge about the molecular mechanisms regulating heart regeneration in zebrafish, a genetically tractable vertebrate model with a regenerative adult heart and well-developed coronary system.
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