Origin of congenital coronary arterio-ventricular fistulae from anomalous epicardial and myocardial development.

P Palmquist-Gomes, A Ruiz-Villalba, J A Guadix, J P Romero, B Bessiéres, D MacGrogan, L Conejo, A Ortiz, B Picazo, L Houyel, David Gomez-Cabrero, S M Meilhac, J L de la Pompa, J M Pérez-Pomares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Coronary Artery Fistulae (CAFs) are cardiac congenital anomalies consisting of an abnormal communication of a coronary artery with either a cardiac chamber or another cardiac vessel. In humans, these congenital anomalies can lead to complications such as myocardial hypertrophy, endocarditis, heart dilatation, and failure. Unfortunately, despite their clinical relevance, the aetiology of CAFs remains unknown. In this work, we have used two different species (mouse and avian embryos) to experimentally model CAFs morphogenesis. Both conditional Itga4 (alpha 4 integrin) epicardial deletion in mice and cryocauterisation of chick embryonic hearts disrupted epicardial development and ventricular wall growth, two essential events in coronary embryogenesis. Our results suggest that myocardial discontinuities in the embryonic ventricular wall promote the early contact of the endocardium with epicardial-derived coronary progenitors at the cardiac surface, leading to ventricular endocardial extrusion, precocious differentiation of coronary smooth muscle cells, and the formation of pouch-like aberrant coronary-like structures in direct connection with the ventricular lumen. The structure of these CAF-like anomalies was compared with histopathological data from a human CAF. Our results provide relevant information for the early diagnosis of these congenital anomalies and the molecular mechanisms that regulate their embryogenesis.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalExperimental & molecular medicine
StatePublished - Jan 18 2023

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-01-26
Acknowledgements: The authors thank Dr. A. Rojas (CABIMER, Sevilla, Spain) and Prof. Thalia Papayannopoulou (University of Washington, WA, USA) for sharing with us the G2-Gata4-Cre and Itga4-floxed mouse lines, respectively. We also thank Vanessa Benhamo (Institut Imagine) for her expert support with HREM. Finally, we thank all members of “DeCA” laboratory (University of Málaga, Málaga, Spain), and the “Heart Morphogenesis” laboratory (Institut Imagine and Institut Pasteur, Paris, France) for their help and fruitful discussions on this paper. This work was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Science, R+D+i National Programme [grants RTI2018-095410-RB-I00 and PID2021-122626-OB-I00], Spanish Ministry of Science-ISCIII [grant number RD16/0011/0030], and University of Málaga [grant number UMA18-FEDERJA-146] to [JMPP]; Consejería de Salud y Familias, Junta de Andalucía [grant number PIER-0084-2019] to [JAGD]; University of Málaga [grant number I Plan Propio-UMA-A.4] to [ARV]; Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Universities (MCIU) (CIBER CV) [grant numbers PID2019-104776RB-I00 and CB16/11/00399] to [JLDLP].

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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