Local and regional variations in myofibrillar patterns in looping rat hearts

R. L. Price, C. Chintanowonges, I. Shiraishi, T. K. Borg, L. Terracio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In chickens, cytodifferentiation, right side dominance in myofibril development, and variations in myofibrillar patterns in different areas and layers of the myocardial wall exist which have been implicated in the process of heart looping. Little comparable information is available for developing myofibrillar patterns in the early development of mammalian hearts. Methods: We have used transmission electron microscopy (TEM), confocal scanning laser microscopy (CSLM), and 3-D reconstruction techniques to determine if similar variations to those which exist in the chicken are also present in the looping hearts of embryonic day (ED) 9.5 to 11.5 rat hearts. Results: Local and regional variations and right side dominance in myofibrillar patterns were shown during looping in 9.5 through 11.5 days of development in embryonic rat heart. At 9.5 days of development, myofibrils near the lumen of the myocardial wall were primarily in circumferential bands while near the pericardial surface they were primarily in longitudinal bands. In older embryos, regional variations in myofibrillar organization was found in areas associated with the cardiac cushions, trabeculae, and myocardial wall of the developing heart chambers. Based on sarcomeric structure, myofibrils in the ventricle and outflow tract were more advanced than those found in the atrial wall. Conclusions: The local and regional patterns of myofibrils in looping rat hearts are similar to those which have been found in developing chicken hearts. This study and others indicate cytodifferentiation and development of the contractile apparatus has a crucial role in the process of heart looping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-93
Number of pages11
JournalAnatomical Record
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1996


  • Confocal Microscopy
  • Electron Microscopy
  • Heart Looping
  • Myofibril Pattern
  • Myofibrillogenesis
  • Rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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