Hepatic vasculature has a vital role in the development, function and regeneration of the liver, but the embryonic origin of hepatic blood vessels is largely unknown. New research published in Nature Genetics now shows that a substantial proportion of these vessels arise from the developing endocardium. The investigators traced the genetic lineage of cells using fluorescent markers in several transgenic mouse models to show that endocardiac cells surround the developing liver bud, contribute to vasculature in the mature liver and play an important part in hepatic organogenesis.
Zhang, H. et al. Genetic lineage tracing identifies endocardial origin of liver vasculature. Nat. Genet. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3536 (2016)
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Ridler, C. Liver vasculature cells are derived from cardiac tissue. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 13, 250 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrgastro.2016.63