The Science Journal of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences


For years, the genetic element of heart morphogenesis has been studied. This review focuses on a relatively new area of study, namely, mechanical factors influencing heart morphogenesis. To understand the context of the role of mechanical factors in heart development, an extensive review of the stages of heart morphogenesis is provided. It is found that shear stress, surface tension, fluid forces, and contractions of certain cells play a role in various stages of heart development. Numerous studies have shown that in cases where these mechanical forces were modified, abnormal heart defects were produced. These studies prove that the mechanical forces are essential for normal heart morphogenesis. Although attempts have been made to define the mechanisms involved in these pathways, most of the research done so far has been inconclusive. While it has been proven that the mechanical forces play a role in heart development, it is still unclear exactly how the forces are involved in the developmental pathways, and what initiates them to proceed. As of current studies, it is also still unclear if there is any correlation between the genes and the mechanical factors involved in heart morphogenesis.