Adult zebrafish have the remarkable ability to regenerate their heart upon injury, a process that involves limited dedifferentiation and proliferation of spared cardiomyocytes (CMs), and migration of their progeny. During regeneration, proliferating CMs are detected throughout the myocardium, including areas distant to the injury site, but whether all of them are able to contribute to the regenerated tissue remains unknown. Here, we developed a CM-specific, photoinducible genetic labelling system, and show that CMs labelled in embryonic hearts survive and contribute to all three (primordial, trabecular and cortical) layers of the adult zebrafish heart. Next, using this system to investigate the fate of CMs from different parts of the myocardium during regeneration, we show that only CMs immediately adjacent to the injury site contributed to the regenerated tissue. Finally, our results show an extensive predetermination of CM fate during adult heart regeneration, with cells from each myocardial layer giving rise to cells that retain their layer identity in the regenerated myocardium. Overall, our results indicate that adult heart regeneration in the zebrafish is a rather static process governed by short-range signals, in contrast to the highly dynamic plasticity of CM fates that takes place during embryonic heart regeneration.
Keywords: Cre/lox recombination; cardiomyocytes; cell migration; heart development; lineage-tracing.
© 2017 The Authors.