Microcinephotography of the developing heart in neural crest-ablated chick embryos.
Microcinephotography was used to study heart development in a neural crest model of heart defects, that is, persistent truncus arteriosus, interrupted aortic arch, double outlet right ventricle, or single ventricle and tricuspid valve anomalies. These defects were created in chick embryos by ablation of premigratory neural crest destined for the aorticopulmonary and truncal septa, as well as the third and fourth aortic arch arteries. When embryogenesis reached the looped cardiac tube stage of development (Hamburger-Hamilton stage 18), 19 experimental and 15 control embryos were filmed at 100 frames per second under controlled environmental conditions. Analysis of the microcinephotography films showed the following significant distinguishing characteristics of the developing heart in the experimental embryos: altered conotruncal shape in 100%, depressed contractility and dilation of the primitive ventricle in 84%, decreased emptying of the bulbus cordis in 79%, incompetent truncal cushions in 68%, incomplete looping of the cardiac tube in 58%, and fourth right aortic arch artery without blood flow and third right aortic arch artery with increased flow in 53%. These abnormal characteristics suggested that there were functional and morphological changes in the developing heart of experimental embryos before the time when the predicted structural heart defects would be apparent. It is proposed that the primitive ventricle might attempt to compensate for depressed contractility by ventricular dilation. The incompetent truncal cushions could be secondary to the depressed contractility or secondary to the neural crest ablation that is known to cause persistent truncus arteriosus, an interrupted aortic arch, or both. The absence of blood flow in the right fourth aortic arch artery that will become the definitive aorta correlates with the expected incidence of interrupted aortic arches in this neural crest-ablation model of heart defects. It is speculated that the incomplete looping of the cardiac tube might hinder normal developmental alignment of the outflow and inflow tracts, producing a spectrum of lesions of maldevelopment of the tricuspid valve and dextroposition of the aorta.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association