Indexed on: 30 Jan '14Published on: 30 Jan '14Published in: Cell and Tissue Research
The bone morphogenetic proteins BMP-2 and BMP-4 and the homeobox gene MSX-2 are required for normal development of many embryonic tissues. To elucidate their possible roles during the remodeling of the tubular heart into a fully septated four-chambered heart, we have localized the mRNA of Bmp-2, Bmp-4, Msx-2 and apoptotic cells in the developing mouse heart from embryonic day (E) 11 to E17. mRNA was localized by in situ hybridization, and apoptotic cells by TUNEL (TDT-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end-labeling) as well as by transmission electron microscopy. By analyzing adjacent serial sections, we demonstrated that the expression of Msx-2 and Bmp-2 strikingly overlapped in the atrioventricular canal myocardium, in the atrioventricular junctional myocardium, and in the maturing myocardium of the atrioventricular valves. Bmp-4 was expressed in the outflow tract myocardium and in the endocardial cushion of the outflow tract ridges from E12 to E14. Msx-2 appeared in the mesenchyme of the atrioventricular endocardial cushion from E11 to E14, while Bmp-2 and Bmp-4 were detected between E11 and E14. Apoptotic cells were also detected in the mesenchyme of the endocardial cushion between E12 and E14. Our results suggest that BMP-2 and MSX-2 are tightly linked to the formation of the atrioventricular junction and valves and that BMP-4 is involved in the development of the outflow tract myocardium and of the endocardial cushion. In addition, BMP-2, BMP-4 and MSX-2 and apoptosis seem to be associated with differentiation of the endocardial cushion.