A pictorial account of the human embryonic heart between 3.5 and 8 weeks of development

Jill P. J. M. Hikspoors, Nutmethee Kruepunga, Greet M. C. Mommen, S. Eleonore Köhler, Robert H. Anderson, Wouter H. Lamers

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Heart development is topographically complex and requires visualization to understand its progression. No comprehensive 3-dimensional primer of human cardiac development is currently available. We prepared detailed reconstructions of 12 hearts between 3.5 and 8 weeks post fertilization, using Amira® 3D-reconstruction and Cinema4D®-remodeling software. The models were visualized as calibrated interactive 3D-PDFs. We describe the developmental appearance and subsequent remodeling of 70 different structures incrementally, using sequential segmental analysis. Pictorial timelines of structures highlight age-dependent events, while graphs visualize growth and spiraling of the wall of the heart tube. The basic cardiac layout is established between 3.5 and 4.5 weeks. Septation at the venous pole is completed at 6 weeks. Between 5.5 and 6.5 weeks, as the outflow tract becomes incorporated in the ventricles, the spiraling course of its subaortic and subpulmonary channels is transferred to the intrapericardial arterial trunks. The remodeling of the interventricular foramen is complete at 7 weeks.
Original languageEnglish
Article number226
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022

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