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EYE on CHINA
Researchers reveal subepicardial endothelial cells working as major source for coronary arteries in embryonic ventricle wall
Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Understanding the developmental origin of coronary arteries and the underlying molecular program would contribute important information to the field of developmental biology and also cardiovascular regenerative medicine. However, the basic knowledge of the origin of coronary arteries in mammalian heart still remain unclear, with debates over sinus venosus and endocardial cell as origins.

Zhou Bin, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, CAS, and his group members generated a unique genetic tool AplnCreER and applied it in lineage tracing of subepicardial endothelial cells. They observed that these primitive endothelial cells could migrate into embryonic ventricular wall and form the majority of coronary arteries in developing heart.

This study raised concerns over recent work claiming that ventricular endocardium as major source for intramyocardial coronary arteries. In addition, they also used Rainbow mouse for clonal analysis and concluded that coronary arteries and veins have common developmental origin.

This fate mapping study of coronary arteries would help in the understanding of cardiovascular development and also provides insights for regenerative medicine.

This study was supported by funds from Chinese Academy of Sciences, Ministry of Science and Technology of China, National Natural Science Foundation of China.

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