Because of the opportunities for genetic manipulation, the mouse has become the major species for models of human disease. Recently, targeted and insertional mutations have induced many novel models of developmental abnormality, including several of congenital heart defects. Interpretation and use of such models requires a precise understanding of the similarities and differences between mouse and human in terms of cardiac development and structure. To this end, we have characterised the late fetal mouse heart using scanning electron microscopy and serial histological sections. Right atrial anatomy is dominated by the venous valves, which separate the orifices of the caval veins from the musculature of the primary atrium. Their structure and location suggest that the pulmonary vein is unlikely to develop from the venous sinus. The pectinated wall of the appendage serves to distinguish the morphologically right atrium, in that it runs around the atrioventricular junction, from the left atrium in which this vestibular region is smooth-walled. The persistence of the left superior caval vein draining to the right atrium, along with a solitary opening for the pulmonary vein in the left atrium, distinguishes the atrial anatomy of the mouse from that of the human. The flap valve of the oval foramen is extensive and represents the embryonic primary atrial septum. The superior rim of the foramen is an infolding of the atrial roof, as has been described in the human, showing that, contrary to orthodox opinion, there is no extensive formation of a secondary atrial septum. The region of the membranous septum seen in the human heart is a relatively thick structure in the late fetal mouse, and is located exclusively in an atrioventricular position. Unlike the human, there is little distinction between the apical trabeculations of the left and right ventricles of the mouse heart.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Allwork SP, Anderson RH (1979) Developmental anatomy of the membranous part of the ventricular septum in the human heart. Br Heart J 41: 275–280
Anderson RH (1990) Editorial note: the anatomy of arterial valvar stenosis. Int J Cardiol 26: 355–360
Anderson RH, Webb S, Brown NA (1996) Establishing the anatomic hallmarks of congenitally malformed hearts. Trends Cardiovasc Med 6: 10–15
Cayré R, Valencia-Mayoral P, Coffe-Ramirez V, Sánchez-Gómez C, Angelini P, Cruz MV de la (1993) The right atrioventricular valvular apparatus in the chick heart. Acta Anat 148: 37–33
Christie GA (1963) The development of the limbus fossae ovalis in the human heart — a new septum. J Anat 97: 45–54
DeRuiter MC, Gittenburger-de Groot AC, Poelmann RE, Vanlperen L, Mentink MM (1993) Development of the pulmonary and bronchial vessels in the avian embryo, with a concept on collateral artery formation. Circulation 87: 1306–1319
Icardo JM, Arrechedera H, Colvee E (1993) The atrioventricular valves of the mouse. I. A scanning electron microscope study. J Anat 182: 87–94
Kirby ML, Waldo KL (1990) Role of neural crest in congenital heart disease. Circulation 82: 332–340
Nishibatake M, Kirby ML, VanMierop LHS (1987) Pathogenesis of persistent truncus arteriosus and dextroposed aorta in the chick embryo after neural crest ablation. Circulation 75: 225–264
O'Rahilly R, Müller F (1992) The cardiovascular and lymphatic systems. Human embryology and teratology. Wiley-Liss, New York, pp 102–138
Pexieder T (1981) Prenatal development of the endocardium: a review. Scan Electron Microsc 2: 223–253
Röse C (1889) Zur Entwickelungsgeschichte des Säugethierherzens. Morphol Jahrb 15: 436–456
Ross DN (1994) Aortic root replacement with a pulmonary autograft — current trends. J Heart Valve Dis 3: 358–360
Seo J-W, Brown NA, Ho SY, Anderson RH (1992) Abnormal laterality and congenital cardiac anomalies. Relations of visceral and cardiac morphologies in the iv/iv mouse. Circulation 86: 642–650
Shakibi JG, Diehl AM (1972) Postnatal development of the heart in normal Swiss-Webster mice. Lab Invest 22: 668–683
Sutton JPIII, Ho SY, Anderson RH (1995) The forgotten interleaflet triangles. A review of the surgical anatomy of the aortic valve. Ann Thorac Surg 59: 419–427
Todd JL, Silverman ME, Kirby ML, Gray SW, Skandalakis JE (1994) The heart. In: Skandalakis JE, Gray SW (eds) Embryology for surgeons. Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, pp 912–957
Victor S, Nayak VM (1994) The tricuspid valve is bicuspid. J Heart Valve Dis 3: 27–36
Vuillemin M, Pexieder T (1989a) Normal stages of cardiac organogenesis in the mouse. I. Development of the external shape of the heart. Am J Anat 184: 101–113
Vuillemin M, Pexieder T (1989b) Normal stages of cardiac organogenesis in the mouse. II. Development of the internal relief of the heart. Am J Anat 184: 114–128
Walmsley T (1929) In: Sharpey-Schafer E, Symington J, Bryce TH (eds) The heart, vol 4. Quain's elements of anatomy, part 3. Longman Green, London, pp 17, 37–38
Wilcox BR, Anderson RH (1992) Surgical anatomy of the heart, 2nd edn. Gower, London, pp 2.8–2.9
About this article
Cite this article
Webb, S., Brown, N.A. & Anderson, R.H. The structure of the mouse heart in late fetal stages. Anat Embryol 194, 37–47 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00196313
- Cardiac morphology
- Scanning electron microscopy