The epicardium has several critical functions during midgestation mouse heart development. The continuing focus of this project is to understand these processes individually and to integrate their developmental and regulatory logic with each other, with other aspects of heart development, and with the larger context of overall embryo development In Aim 1, we consider the function of epicardial mitogenic signaling that induces cardiomyocyte proliferation, and in particular address the nature of regulation of mitogen expression in the pre- and post-placental period of midgestation development. A primary goal is to confirm how ventricular chamber growth is coordinated with placental function. Our recent work established that CXCL12 is required for coronary vasculogenesis. Taking advantage of the unique features of CXCL12 as an organ-specific, arterial-specific, and paracrine-acting vascular maturation factor, in Aim 2 we propose several experimental strategies to better define the process of coronary plexus maturation, to resolve the source of coronary arterial endothelium based on requirement for CXCL12 signaling, and to develop a novel strategy to visualize the process of venous to arterial reprogramming. Although cardiomyocyte proliferation and coronary vasculogenesis are completed by birth, both are reactivated in the neonatal mouse heart after injury.
In Aim 3, we examine how the same signals that support these processes in midgestation heart morphogenesis are reutilized in the neonatal heart for regeneration.

Public Health Relevance

- Relevance The processes that account for formation of the mammalian heart are important for two general reasons: they explain why so many children are born with congenital heart defects, and may provide insights on how to better facilitate postnatal or adult heart regeneration. Our prior work established the epicardium, the cell layer on the outer heart surface, as a tissue that directs several critical steps in heart development. In this project, we propose to examine two of these: growth of the ventricle and in particular how this process is integrated with developmental processes in other parts of the embryo, and formation of the coronary vasculature; we also consider how these two processes are reiterated in neonatal mouse heart regeneration.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Research Project (R01)
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Cardiovascular Differentiation and Development Study Section (CDD)
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Schramm, Charlene A
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Medical University of South Carolina
Anatomy/Cell Biology
Schools of Medicine
United States
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