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Expression of Discoidin Domain Receptor 2 (DDR2) in the Developing Heart

  • Mary O. Morales (a1), Robert L. Price (a1) and Edie C. Goldsmith (a1)


Interactions between cells and the surrounding extracellular matrix are important for a number of developmental events. In the heart, cardiac fibroblasts produce the majority of extracellular matrix proteins, particularly collagen types I and III. Cells originating from the proepicardial organ migrate over the surface of the heart, invade the underlying myocardium and ultimately give rise to smooth muscle cells, fibroblasts, and coronary endothelium. Although integrin expression in the developing heart has been well characterized, the expression of Discoidin Domain Receptor 2 (DDR2) remains to be defined. Using confocal microscopy, the expression of DDR2 was examined at several points during cardiac development. Initially, DDR2 expression was detected on the epicardial surface of the heart and on endothelial and mesenchymal cells within the cardiac cushions. As development progressed, DDR2 expression increased at localized regions in the apex and atrioventricular sulcus, although this expression decreased from epicardial to endocardial surface. Eventually, DDR2 expression spanned the myocardial free wall and was detected within the septum. Not until postnatal development was DDR2 expression detected uniformly throughout the myocardium and this distribution was maintained in the adult heart. In summary, the data presented demonstrate that the distribution of DDR2-positive cells changes within the heart during development.


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