Researchers from Mount Sinai in New York found a population of cells that are linked to the development of heart ventricular chambers.
The study, published in Nature Communications, revealed in-depth information of the formation of heart chambers that could help researchers better understand the biology behind heart defects like congenital heart disease.
Researchers examined the role that Foxa2, a protein-coding gene, played in the development of the endoderm and ectoderm during embryogenesis. Investigators found a population of progenitor cells expressing Foxa2 during early development that formed cells in both the left and right ventricular chambers, but not the atria, showing that atrial-ventricular segregation happens before the morphological establishment of differentiated cardiac structures.
"In addition to informing our understanding of early heart development, we hope that these findings will also lead to new protocols for the generation of ventricular cardiomyocytes in cell culture that could potentially be used in therapeutic settings,” said Nicole Dubois, PhD, the lead author on the study and an assistant professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in a statement.
Though researchers don’t understand much about Foxa2, the study provides a foundation for future work that can examine how the protein could be used to help treat heart conditions.