Our hearts – like those of all mammals – have four chambers. The image on the left shows a normal mouse heart, with the left and right atria at the top and the left and right ventricles at the bottom. The right side of the heart pumps blood to the lungs to get oxygen, and the left side of the heart pumps oxygenated blood from the lungs to the body. Congenital heart disease – which affects 9 in every 1,000 newborn babies in the UK – can arise when the chambers of the heart haven’t formed properly. When looking into early heart development, researchers identified stem cells using fluorescent lineage tracing that specifically gave rise to the ventricles of the heart (right). This new insight has helped further our understanding of the heart’s development.
Written by Katie Panteli
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (the new name for the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre) the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.