Sinner Lab
Ventral Body Wall Formation

Ventral Body Wall Formation

Midline defects of the body wall account for approximately 5% of congenital abnormalities observed at birth. Defects in the closure thoracic body wall result in conditions such as ectopia cordis (exposed heart) and anomalous sternum affecting the normal development of the lungs. The molecular mechanisms underlying the formation of the ventral body are poorly understood.

We are currently studying models wherein perturbation to Wnt ligand secretion, or reception impairs the thoracic body wall's closure, resulting in a malformed sternum, exposed heart, and abnormal pulmonary morphology. These studies will provide insights into normal body wall development and abnormal body wall closure pathogenesis.

(A) Whole mount images of genetically labeled cartilage show the normal arrangement of ribs and sternum of a developing mouse embryo. Deletion of Wls in developing mesenchyme results in lack of fusion of the sternum (line segment). (B) Images of cross sections at the level of the heart depicting the thoracic body wall are shown (arrowheads). The thickness of the thoracic body wall is reduced after deletion of Wls or Lrp5 and Lrp6 in developing mensenchyme (compare line segments).
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