De novo formation of a distinct coronary vascular population in neonatal heart

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Science  04 Jul 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6192, pp. 90-94
DOI: 10.1126/science.1251487

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The heart needs blood vessels, too

For the newborn heart to grow quickly, the heart's own blood vessels must grow as well. Researchers have assumed that preexisting fetal coronary vessels expand to cause this postnatal coronary vascular growth. Instead, Tian et al. now show that, for the most part, brandnew blood vessels form within the neonatal heart (see the Perspective by Burns and Burns). This ability to produce new coronary blood vessels after birth may one day help researchers work out how to promote cardiovascular regeneration after injury or disease.

Science, this issue p. 90; see also p. 28


The postnatal coronary vessels have been viewed as developing through expansion of vessels formed during the fetal period. Using genetic lineage tracing, we found that a substantial portion of postnatal coronary vessels arise de novo in the neonatal mouse heart, rather than expanding from preexisting embryonic vasculature. Our data show that lineage conversion of neonatal endocardial cells during trabecular compaction generates a distinct compartment of the coronary circulation located within the inner half of the ventricular wall. This lineage conversion occurs within a brief period after birth and provides an efficient means of rapidly augmenting the coronary vasculature. This mechanism of postnatal coronary vascular growth provides avenues for understanding and stimulating cardiovascular regeneration following injury and disease.

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