Distinct spatial and temporal distributions of aggrecan and versican in the embryonic chick heart

Mary K.B. Zanin, Justin Bundy, Heidemarie Ernst, Andy Wessels, Simon J. Conway, Stanley Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Scopus citations


Although chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) are major components of the embryonic extracellular matrix, little attention has been paid to specific CSPGs in early heart development, in part because appropriate antibodies were not available. Therefore we prepared specific polyclonal antibodies against chicken aggrecan, versican, neurocan, and phosphacan. Western blotting and immunohistochemical studies revealed the presence of aggrecan and versican in stages 12-21 chicken embryo hearts in distinctive spatial and temporal patterns. Because this is the first demonstration of aggrecan in heart tissue, we further used RT-PCR to confirm that aggrecan is expressed in the heart and in situ hybridization to confirm the pattern of expression determined using antibodies. Versican is found in the myocardium and the myocardial basement membrane. In contrast, aggrecan is specifically colocalized with several groups of migrating cells including endocardial cushion tissue cells, epicardial cells, a mesenchymal cell population in the outflow tract that may be of neural crest origin, and a mesenchymal cell population in the inflow tract. The combined observations indicate that versican and aggrecan are expressed in unique patterns and suggest that they play very different roles in development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)366-380
Number of pages15
JournalAnatomical Record
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1999


  • Aggrecan
  • CSPG
  • Versican

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Distinct spatial and temporal distributions of aggrecan and versican in the embryonic chick heart'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this