In the prenatal heart, right-to-left atrial shunting of blood through the foramen ovale is essential for proper circulation. After birth, as the pulmonary circulation is established, the foramen ovale functionally closes as a result of changes in the relative pressure of the two atrial chambers, ensuring the separation of oxygen depleted venous blood in the right atrium from the oxygenated blood entering the left atrium. Little is known regarding the process of anatomical closure of the foramen ovale in the postnatal heart. Genetically engineered mouse models are powerful tools to study heart development and to reveal mechanisms underlying cardiac anomalies, including defects in atrioventricular septation. Using three-dimensional reconstructions of serial sectioned hearts at early postnatal Days 2-7, we show a progressive reduction in the size of the interatrial communication throughout this period and complete closure by postnatal Day 7. Furthermore we demonstrate that fusion of the septum primum and septum secundum occurs between 4 weeks and 3 months of age. This study provides a standard timeline for morphological closure of the right-left atrial communication and fusion between the atrial septa in normal mouse hearts.
- Heart defects
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics