Expression of type VIII collagen during morphogenesis of the chicken and mouse heart

Maria Luisa Iruela-Arispe*, E. Helene Sage

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The expression of type VIII collagen is restricted, in adult mammals, to specialized extracellular matrices and to a select subset of blood vessels. We have examined the distribution of type VIII collagen in sequential stages of mouse and chicken embryos and found a temporal and spatially restricted pattern of expression during cardiogenesis. Type VIII collagen was first detected by immunocytochemistry on Day 11 in the developing mouse embryo and at stage 19 in the chicken embryo. The distribution of this protein was rapidly modulated during cardiac morphogenesis. Initially (Day 11 in the mouse embryo), type VIII collagen was associated with cardiac myoblasts. From Days 15 to 18, the immunoreactive component was progressively diminished in the myocardium; however, this collagen was observed in the subendocardial layer of the atrioventricular canal and later in the cardiac jelly (or the myocardial basement membrane, an area associated with the formation of cardiac valves). On Day 17, type VIII collagen was also detected in the subendothelium (intima) and tunica media of large vessels. Neonatal and adult hearts contained low to undetectable levels of type VIII collagen. The presence of type VIII collagen was confirmed by immunoblot analysis of heart extracts at different stages of development. A major 185-kDa component, as well as polypeptides of 68 and 15 kDa, reacted with anti-type VIII collagen IgG. Exposure of heart extracts to hyaluronidase or reducing agent eliminated immunoreactivity of the 185-kDa component but not that of the 68- and 15-kDa polypeptides. Type VIII collagen therefore appears to be associated with a hyaluronidase-sensitive component of the extracellular matrix during a temporally restricted stage of embryonic cardiogenesis. The contribution of this collagen to cardiac morphogenesis might reside, in part, in its ability to influence the differentiation of the myocardium and formation of the cardiac valves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-118
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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