Hemodynamic changes in chick embryos precede heart defects after cardiac neural crest ablation.
Neural crest cells are known to contribute to the normal architecture of the heart and aortic arch arteries. Ablation of neural crest cells over somites 1 to 3 in the chick embryo prevents conotruncal septation and results in persistent truncus arteriosus. To determine whether a deficiency of cardiac neural crest cells produces hemodynamic changes prior to the development of identifiable structural defects in the heart, we measured dorsal aortic blood velocity and vitelline artery blood pressure in lesioned and control embryos at a period of cardiac morphogenesis prior to septal formation. The internal diameter of the dorsal aorta at the level of the sinus venosus and the internal diameter of the aortic arch arteries at their midpoints were measured in embryos at Stage 18 of development using a filar micrometer eyepiece and a dissecting microscope. Embryos with neural crest lesions had significantly greater dorsal aortic blood flow velocity than control embryos. In addition, embryos lacking cardiac neural crest had significantly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressures than control embryos. There was no difference in heart rate, dorsal aortic diameter or internal diameter of the aortic arch arteries between lesioned and control embryos. Scanning electron micrographs revealed no gross morphological differences in cardiac looping or conotruncal wall development between lesioned and control embryos; however, embryos with cardiac neural crest ablations developed markedly hypoplastic 4th pharyngeal arches. This data suggests that hemodynamic changes precede the onset of structural heart defects in embryos with cardiac neural crest ablations.
- Copyright © 1986 by American Heart Association