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Journal of Cardiovascular Development and Disease

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Cardiovascular Development -- research, Cardiogenesis


Cardiogenesis is interdependent with blood flow within the embryonic system. Recently, a number of studies have begun to elucidate the effects of hemodynamic forces acting upon and within cells as the cardiovascular system begins to develop. Changes in flow are picked up by mechanosensors in endocardial cells exposed to wall shear stress (the tangential force exerted by blood flow) and by myocardial and mesenchymal cells exposed to cyclic strain (deformation). Mechanosensors stimulate a variety of mechanotransduction pathways which elicit functional cellular responses in order to coordinate the structural development of the heart and cardiovascular system. The looping stages of heart development are critical to normal cardiac morphogenesis and have previously been shown to be extremely sensitive to experimental perturbations in flow, with transient exposure to altered flow dynamics causing severe late stage cardiac defects in animal models. This paper seeks to expand on past research and to begin establishing a detailed baseline for normal hemodynamic conditions in the chick outflow tract during these critical looping stages. Specifically, we will use 4-D (3-D over time) optical coherence tomography to create in vivo geometries for computational fluid dynamics simulations of the cardiac cycle, enabling us to study in great detail 4-D velocity patterns and heterogeneous wall shear stress distributions on the outflow tract endocardium. This information will be useful in determining the normal variation of hemodynamic patterns as well as in mapping hemodynamics to developmental processes such as morphological changes and signaling events during and after the looping stages examined here.


© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

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