Significant physiological changes occur in the heart following birth including increased arterial blood pressure and heart rate. Concurrently, biochemical and structural alterations are evident in the neonatal heart in response to these dynamic physiological properties. Prominent among these is the elaborate development of the cardiac extracellular matrix, composed primarily of interstitial collagen. The collagenous fibers, together with other matrix components, form and elastic, stress‐tolerant network which functions in the dissipation of force throughout the heart wall. The present studies have used biochemical and molecular techniques to show the temporal and spatial patterns of interstitial collagen accumulation expression during late fetal and neonatal development of the rat heart. The use of biochemical and particularly molecular methodologies allows the analysis of the expression of matrix components at a resolution previously not attained by structural studies alone. These data show relative increases in interstitial collagen immediately following birth as well as spatial differences in collagen mRNAs within the heart. The data presented provide further evidence for a role of mechanical stimulation in the regulation of collagen gene expression during this period of heart development. © 1993 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
- Collagenous fibers
- Extracellular matrix
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)