Ex vivo culture of pharyngeal arches to study heart and muscle progenitors and their niche

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3 Scopus citations


The pharyngeal mesoderm of developing embryos contributes to broad regions of head and heart musculature. We have developed a novel method to study head and heart progenitor cell development with pharyngeal arches (also known as branchial arches) ex vivo. Using this method, we have recently described that the second pharyngeal arch contains self-renewing heart progenitors and serves as a microenvironment for expansion of the progenitors during mouse heart development. The progenitor cells remain undifferentiated and expansive inside the arch, but quickly become functional cardiomyocytes as they migrate out of the arch. We also reported that first pharyngeal arch contains muscle progenitors giving rise to myotubes after leaving the arch. Here, we demonstrate the procedure for the dissection and ex vivo culture of first and second pharyngeal arches from developing mouse embryos. The method enables one to study head and heart progenitor/ muscle development, including cardiomyocyte and myotube formation in detail ex vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere52876
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number101
StatePublished - Jul 20 2015


  • Cardiac progenitors
  • Cardiogenesis
  • Developmental biology
  • Head muscle progenitors
  • Microenvironment
  • Pharyngeal arch
  • Stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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