Embryonic heart progenitors and cardiogenesis

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2013 Oct 1;3(10):a013847. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a013847.


The mammalian heart is a highly specialized organ, comprised of many different cell types arising from distinct embryonic progenitor populations during cardiogenesis. Three precursor populations have been identified to contribute to different myocytic and nonmyocytic cell lineages of the heart: cardiogenic mesoderm cells (CMC), the proepicardium (PE), and cardiac neural crest cells (CNCCs). This review will focus on molecular cues necessary for proper induction, expansion, and lineage-specific differentiation of these progenitor populations during cardiac development in vivo. Moreover, we will briefly discuss how the knowledge gained on embryonic heart progenitor biology can be used to develop novel therapeutic strategies for the management of congenital heart disease as well as for improvement of cardiac function in ischemic heart disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Heart / embryology*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / embryology
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / pathology
  • Humans
  • Mesoderm / cytology
  • Mesoderm / embryology
  • Myocardium / cytology
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / physiology
  • Neural Crest / cytology
  • Neural Crest / embryology
  • Pericardium / cytology
  • Pericardium / embryology
  • Regenerative Medicine / methods