Changes in cholinergic parameters associated with failure of conotruncal septation in embryonic chick hearts after neural crest ablation.
Cells from the neural crest over occipital somites migrate to the heart, where they give rise to parasympathetic postganglionic neurons as well as ectomesenchymal elements which contribute to conotruncal septation. With a microcautery needle, the neural crest over occipital somites was ablated bilaterally in chicken embryos at an early stage of development. Histological examination on incubation day 15 revealed conotruncal malformations, involving malformation or absence of the conotruncal septum in all embryos. Two peaks of embryo mortality were observed. One peak (incubation days 6-8) occurred at the same time as conotruncal septal closure; the second peak (incubation days 11-13) was concurrent with the onset of functional parasympathetic innervation. A disruption of parasympathetic innervation was indicated by: (1) a decrease in acetylcholinesterase staining, (2) a decrease (27%) in the number of ganglion cells in the conotruncus, (3) decreases in the acetylcholine content of atrium (31%) and ventricle (39%), and (4) a decrease (21%) in muscarinic acetylcholine receptor density on incubation day 15. Radiolabeled ligand-binding studies revealed no change in the affinity of cardiac muscarinic receptors for [3H]methylscopolamine (KD = 0.17-0.21 nM). Agonist-binding affinity and sensitivity to guanine nucleotides were similarly unaffected. The reasons for the limited extent of the parasympathetic lesion are unclear, but may involve recruitment of precursor cells from other regions of the neural crest, partial regeneration of the neural crest following surgical removal, or an alteration in the contribution of incoming sympathetic or preganglionic parasympathetic elements. No such plasticity was associated with neural crest contributions to the structural development of the conotruncus. Malformations were observed in all lesioned embryos.
- Copyright © 1985 by American Heart Association