Endothelial cell origin and migration in embryonic heart and cranial blood vessel development

Anat Rec. 1991 Nov;231(3):383-95. doi: 10.1002/ar.1092310312.


Using the QH-1 monoclonal antibody as a marker for quail endothelium, blockage and transplant experiments were carried out to construct fate maps for the embryonic endocardium, to determine whether preendocardial angioblasts are migratory, and, if these cells are migratory, to outline the pathways that they use for directed migration in embryonic blood vessel development. Recent descriptive studies using QH-1 to make immunofluorescent whole mounts have described a sequence of events leading to the establishment of the embryonic heart tube. These reports suggest that the pattern for the endocardium and cranial vasculature is established by migrating angioblasts that form vascular cords which mature into blood vessels. Blockage experiments showed that the ventrolateral edge of the anterior intestinal portal serves as a substrate for the directed migration of pre-endocardial angioblasts and that the pattern of the cranioventral vasculature forms independent of the source of angioblasts. Transplant experiments showed that the origin for endocardial angioblasts lies in mesodermal tissue just anterior to Henson's node, that these cells undergo directed migration to the pericardial area, and that angioblasts are pluripotent with the ability to form different blood vessels. The transplant studies also showed that the embryonic mesoderm may contribute to extraembryonic blood vessels on the embryonic yolksac. These results support the hypothesis that embryonic blood vessels may develop by either the vasculogenesis or by the angiogenesis mechanism, and show that the endocardium of the primitive heart tube forms by vasculogenesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Brain / embryology*
  • Cell Movement
  • Chick Embryo
  • Coronary Vessels / cytology
  • Coronary Vessels / embryology*
  • Coturnix
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / embryology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / immunology
  • Heart / embryology*
  • Mesoderm / transplantation


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal