Early events in valvulogenesis: a signaling perspective

Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today. 2003 Feb;69(1):58-72. doi: 10.1002/bdrc.10006.


The proper formation and function of the vertebrate heart requires a multitude of specific cell and tissue interactions. These interactions drive the early specification and assembly of components of the cardiovascular system that lead to a functioning system before the attainment of the definitive cardiac and vascular structures seen in the adult. Many of these adult structures are hypothesized to require both proper molecular and physical cues to form correctly. Unlike any other organ system in the embryo, the cardiovascular system requires concurrent function and formation for the embryo to survive. An example of this complex interaction between molecular and physical cues is the formation of the valves of the heart. Both molecular cues that regulate cell transformation, migration, and extracellular matrix deposition, and physical cues emanating from the beating heart, as well as hemodynamic forces, are required for valvulogenesis. This review will focus on molecules and emerging pathways that guide early events in valvulogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activin Receptors / physiology
  • Animals
  • Chick Embryo
  • Endocardial Cushion Defects / embryology
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology
  • Fetal Proteins / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Growth Substances / physiology
  • Heart Septum / embryology
  • Heart Valves / abnormalities
  • Heart Valves / embryology*
  • Humans
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Mesoderm / cytology
  • Mesoderm / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Morphogenesis / physiology
  • Receptors, Growth Factor / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Transcription Factors / physiology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / physiology


  • Fetal Proteins
  • Growth Substances
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Receptors, Growth Factor
  • Transcription Factors
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Activin Receptors