Expression of beta 2 integrin (CD18) in embryonic mouse and chicken heart

L. A.M. Oliveira, R. K. Baker, S. E. Klewer, G. T. Kitten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Integrins are heterodimeric receptors composed of α and β transmembrane subunits that mediate attachment of cells to the extracellular matrix and counter-ligands such as ICAM-1 on adjacent cells. β2 integrin (CD18) associates with four different α (CD11) subunits to form an integrin subfamily, which has been reported to be expressed exclusively on leukocytes. However, recent studies indicate that β2 integrin is also expressed by other types of cells. Since the gene for β2 integrin is located in the region of human chromosome 21 associated with congenital heart defects, we postulated that it may be expressed in the developing heart. Here, we show the results from several different techniques used to test this hypothesis. PCR analyses indicated that β2 integrin and the αL, αM, and αX subunits are expressed during heart development. Immunohistochemical studies in both embryonic mouse and chicken hearts, using antibodies directed against the N- or C-terminal of β2 integrin or against its α subunit partners, showed that β2 integrin, as well as the αL, αM, and αX subunits, are expressed by the endothelial and mesenchymal cells of the atrioventricular canal and in the epicardium and myocardium during cardiogenesis. In situ hybridization studies further confirmed the presence of β2 integrin in these various locations in the embryonic heart. These results indicate that the β2 integrin subfamily may have other activities in addition to leukocyte adhesion, such as modulating the migration and differentiation of cells during the morphogenesis of the cardiac valves and myocardial walls of the heart.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-35
Number of pages11
JournalBrazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Beta 2 integrin
  • CD18
  • Cardiac development
  • Down syndrome
  • Epithelial-mesenchymal transformation
  • Mouse and chicken cardiogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • Biophysics
  • General Neuroscience
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology
  • Immunology


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