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Fish Heart Growth and Function: From Gross Morphology to Cell Signaling and Back

  • B. Tota
  • F. Garofalo
Chapter

Abstract

Comparative multidisciplinary efforts greatly contributed to unravel the interrelationship between heart structure and function at the molecular level. They include studies on the developing and adult fish heart, which provide necessary insights to identify functional properties residing in the cardiomyocytes from those resulting from complex interactions between the other tissues and cells of the organ and how they integrate. Although analysis from complex to simple is easier than synthesis, we will illustrate some fish paradigms hoping to furnish eventual bridges between whole-organ and cellular levels.

Beyond the uniformity of the allometric relationship, heart growth highlights specific life history related scaling factors, as epitomized by the tuna heart and its ventricular compartmentation.

Moreover, unlike mammals, the adult fish heart retained the evolutionary capacity for rapid myocardial replacement. However, patterns of cardiac growth (hypertrophy and/or hyperplasia) may differently affect compacta and spongiosa remodeling, as shown by salmonid and eel hearts.

Their slightly different growth pattern mirrors the universal trend of the heart developing as a modular organ driven by distinct transcriptional regulatory programs that control each anatomical region.

According to the zebrafish (Brachydanio rerio) model, myocardial growth appears to involve mechanisms differing from those responsible for myocardial regeneration, specifying distinct transcriptional regulatory programs and trophic interactions between the myocardial, epicardial and endocardial cells.

Using the adult eel heart again, and nitric oxide (NO) signaling as a paradigm of molecular integration, we will finally illustrate the relevant cross-talk between the endocardial endothelium and the subjacent myocardium (NO-mediated paracrine modulation), as well as the NO-mediated autocrine modulation of the beat-to-beat response of the heart.

Keywords

Nitric Oxide Heart Tube Cardiac Growth Vertebrate Heart Cardiac Jelly 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank D. Amelio for advices and figures.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cell BiologyUniversity of CalabriaCosenzaItaly

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