Talk:Respiratory System - Diaphragm

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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2020, July 9) Embryology Respiratory System - Diaphragm. Retrieved from


Ephrin-B1, -B2, and -B4 Expression is Decreased in Developing Diaphragms and Lungs of Fetal Rats with Nitrofen-Induced Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia

Eur J Pediatr Surg. 2019 Feb;29(1):113-119. doi: 10.1055/s-0038-1675774. Epub 2018 Nov 23.

Takahashi T1, Friedmacher F1, Zimmer J1,2, Puri P1.


INTRODUCTION:  Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is assumed to originate from a malformation of the amuscular mesenchymal component of the primordial diaphragm. Mutations in ephrin-B1, a membrane protein that is expressed by mesenchymal cells, have been found in newborn infants with CDH and associated pulmonary hypoplasia (PH), highlighting its important role during diaphragmatic and airway development. Ephrin-B1, -B2, and -B4 are expressed in fetal rat lungs and have been identified as key players during lung branching morphogenesis. We hypothesized that diaphragmatic and pulmonary expression of ephrin-B1, -B2, and -B4 is decreased in the nitrofen-induced CDH model. MATERIALS AND METHODS:  Time-mated rats received nitrofen or vehicle on day 9 (D9). Fetal diaphragms (n = 72) and lungs (n = 72) were harvested on D13, D15, and D18, and divided into control and nitrofen-exposed specimens. Ephrin-B1, -B2, and -B4 gene expression was analyzed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Immunofluorescence double staining for ephrin-B1, -B2, and -B4 was combined with mesenchymal and epithelial markers (Gata-4/Fgf-10 and calcitonin gene-related peptide) to evaluate protein expression/localization. RESULTS:  Ephrin-B1, -B2, and -B4 gene expression was significantly reduced in pleuroperitoneal folds/primordial lungs (D13), developing diaphragms/lungs (D15), and fully muscularized diaphragms/differentiated lungs (D18) of nitrofen-exposed fetuses compared with controls. Confocal laser scanning microscopy demonstrated markedly diminished ephrin-B1 immunofluorescence in diaphragmatic and pulmonary mesenchyme of nitrofen-exposed fetuses on D13, D15, and D18 compared with controls, whereas ephrin-B2 and -B4 expression was mainly decreased in distal airway epithelium. CONCLUSION:  Decreased ephrin-B1, -B2, and -B4 expression may disrupt diaphragmatic development and lung branching morphogenesis by interfering with epithelial-mesenchymal interactions, thus causing diaphragmatic defects and PH. Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York. PMID: 30469162 DOI: 10.1055/s-0038-1675774


The breadth of the diaphragm: updates in embryogenesis and role of imaging

Koo CW, Johnson TF, Gierada DS, White DB, Blackmon S, Matsumoto JM, Choe J, Allen MS, Levin DL & Kuzo RS. (2018). The breadth of the diaphragm: updates in embryogenesis and role of imaging. Br J Radiol , 91, 20170600. PMID: 29485899 DOI.

Koo CW1, Johnson TF1, Gierada DS2, White DB1, Blackmon S3, Matsumoto JM1, Choe J1,4, Allen MS3, Levin DL1, Kuzo RS1. Author information Abstract The diaphragm is an unique skeletal muscle separating the thoracic and abdominal cavities with a primary function of enabling respiration. When abnormal, whether by congenital or acquired means, the consequences for patients can be severe. Abnormalities that affect the diaphragm are often first detected on chest radiographs as an alteration in position or shape. Cross-sectional imaging studies, primarily CT and occasionally MRI, can depict structural defects, intrinsic and adjacent pathology in greater detail. Fluoroscopy is the primary radiologic means of evaluating diaphragmatic motion, though MRI and ultrasound also are capable of this function. This review provides an update on diaphragm embryogenesis and discusses current imaging of various abnormalities, including the emerging role of three-dimensional printing in planning surgical repair of diaphragmatic derangements. PMID: 29485899 DOI: 10.1259/bjr.20170600

Developmental origin and morphogenesis of the diaphragm, an essential mammalian muscle

Sefton EM1, Gallardo M1, Kardon G1. Dev Biol. 2018 Apr 18. pii: S0012-1606(18)30146-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2018.04.010. [Epub ahead of print]


The diaphragm is a mammalian skeletal muscle essential for respiration and for separating the thoracic and abdominal cavities. Development of the diaphragm requires the coordinated development of muscle, muscle connective tissue, tendon, nerves, and vasculature that derive from different embryonic sources. However, defects in diaphragm development are common and the cause of an often deadly birth defect, Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH). Here we comprehensively describe the normal developmental origin and complex spatial-temporal relationship between the different developing tissues to form a functional diaphragm using a developmental series of mouse embryos genetically and immunofluorescently labeled and analyzed in whole mount. We find that the earliest developmental events are the emigration of muscle progenitors from cervical somites followed by the projection of phrenic nerve axons from the cervical neural tube. Muscle progenitors and phrenic nerve target the pleuroperitoneal folds (PPFs), transient pyramidal-shaped structures that form between the thoracic and abdominal cavities. Subsequently, the PPFs expand across the surface of the liver to give rise to the muscle connective tissue and central tendon, and the leading edge of their expansion precedes muscle morphogenesis, formation of the vascular network, and outgrowth and branching of the phrenic nerve. Thus development and morphogenesis of the PPFs is critical for diaphragm formation. In addition, our data indicate that the earliest events in diaphragm development are critical for the etiology of CDH and instrumental to the evolution of the diaphragm. CDH initiates prior to E12.5 in mouse and suggests that defects in the early PPF formation or their ability to recruit muscle are an important source of CDH. Also, the recruitment of muscle progenitors from cervical somites to the nascent PPFs is uniquely mammalian and a key developmental innovation essential for the evolution of the muscularized diaphragm. KEYWORDS: CDH; Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia; diaphragm; muscle; somite PMID: 29679560 DOI: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2018.04.010


Congenital diaphragmatic hernias: from genes to mechanisms to therapies

Dis Model Mech. 2017 Aug 1;10(8):955-970. doi: 10.1242/dmm.028365.

Kardon G1, Ackerman KG2, McCulley DJ3, Shen Y4, Wynn J5, Shang L5, Bogenschutz E6, Sun X7, Chung WK1,8.


Congenital diaphragmatic hernias (CDHs) and structural anomalies of the diaphragm are a common class of congenital birth defects that are associated with significant morbidity and mortality due to associated pulmonary hypoplasia, pulmonary hypertension and heart failure. In ∼30% of CDH patients, genomic analyses have identified a range of genetic defects, including chromosomal anomalies, copy number variants and sequence variants. The affected genes identified in CDH patients include transcription factors, such as GATA4, ZFPM2, NR2F2 and WT1, and signaling pathway components, including members of the retinoic acid pathway. Mutations in these genes affect diaphragm development and can have pleiotropic effects on pulmonary and cardiac development. New therapies, including fetal endoscopic tracheal occlusion and prenatal transplacental fetal treatments, aim to normalize lung development and pulmonary vascular tone to prevent and treat lung hypoplasia and pulmonary hypertension, respectively. Studies of the association between particular genetic mutations and clinical outcomes should allow us to better understand the origin of this birth defect and to improve our ability to predict and identify patients most likely to benefit from specialized treatment strategies. KEYWORDS: Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH); Congenital heart disease (CHD); Diaphragm; Genetics; Pulmonary hypertension; Pulmonary hypoplasia; Structural birth defects PMID: 28768736 PMCID: PMC5560060 DOI: 10.1242/dmm.028365


Wt1 and β-catenin cooperatively regulate diaphragm development in the mouse

Dev Biol. 2015 Nov 1;407(1):40-56. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2015.08.009. Epub 2015 Aug 14.

Paris ND1, Coles GL1, Ackerman KG2.


The developing diaphragm consists of various differentiating cell types, many of which are not well characterized during organogenesis. One important but incompletely understood tissue, the diaphragmatic mesothelium, is distinctively present from early stages of development. Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) occurs in humans when diaphragm tissue is lost during development, resulting in high morbidity and mortality postnatally. We utilized a Wilms Tumor 1 (Wt1) mutant mouse model to investigate the involvement of the mesothelium in normal diaphragm signaling and development. Additionally, we developed and characterized a Wt1(CreERT2)-driven β-catenin loss-of-function model of CDH after finding that canonical Wnt signaling and β-catenin are reduced in Wt1 mutant mesothelium. Mice with β-catenin loss or constitutive activation induced in the Wt1 lineage are only affected when tamoxifen injection occurs between E10.5 and E11.5, revealing a critical time-frame for Wt1/ β-catenin activity. Conditional β-catenin loss phenocopies the Wt1 mutant diaphragm defect, while constitutive activation of β-catenin on the Wt1 mutant background is sufficient to close the diaphragm defect. Proliferation and apoptosis are affected, but primarily these genetic manipulations appear to lead to a change in normal diaphragm differentiation. Our data suggest a fundamental role for mesothelial signaling in proper formation of the diaphragm. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. KEYWORDS: Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia; Diaphragm development; Mesothelium; Wnt signaling; Wt1; β-catenin

PMID 26278035

Gestational age at initial exposure to in utero inflammation influences the extent of diaphragm dysfunction in preterm lambs

Respirology. 2015 Nov;20(8):1255-62. doi: 10.1111/resp.12615. Epub 2015 Aug 26.

Karisnan K1, Bakker AJ1,2, Song Y1, Noble PB1, Pillow JJ1,2, Pinniger GJ1.


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: In utero infection may critically influence diaphragm development and predispose preterm infants to postnatal respiratory failure. We aimed to determine how frequency and gestational age (GA) at time of intra-amniotic (IA) lipopolysaccharide (LPS) exposure affects preterm diaphragm function. METHODS: Pregnant ewes received IA injections of saline or 10-mg LPS at 7 days or 21 days or weekly injections 21, 14 and 7 days before delivery at 121-day GA. Foetal lambs were killed with pentobarbitone (150 mg/kg; intravenous). Diaphragm contractile function was measured in vitro. Muscle fibre type, activation of protein synthesis and degradation pathways, pro-inflammatory signalling and oxidative stress were evaluated using immunofluorescence staining, RT-qPCR, ELISA, Western blotting and biochemical assay. RESULTS: In utero LPS exposure significantly impaired diaphragm contractile function. LPS exposure 7 days before delivery caused maximum specific twitch and tetanic forces 30% lower than controls. When the initial LPS exposure occurred 21 days before delivery maximum specific forces were 40% lower than controls. Earlier LPS exposure also prolonged twitch contraction time, increased fatigue resistance and elevated protein carbonyl content. Despite increased white blood cell counts and interleukin-6 mRNA expression following weekly LPS exposure, there were no significant differences in contractile properties between exposure 21 days before delivery and repeated LPS groups suggesting that frequency of inflammatory exposure does not influence the severity of contractile dysfunction. CONCLUSIONS: GA at time of initial LPS exposure, rather than frequency of exposure, determines the extent of inflammation-induced diaphragm dysfunction. © 2015 Asian Pacific Society of Respirology. KEYWORDS: chorioamnionitis; contractile dysfunction; inflammation; preterm diaphragm

PMID 26311537


Kif7 is required for the patterning and differentiation of the diaphragm in a model of syndromic congenital diaphragmatic hernia

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 May 21;110(21):E1898-905. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1222797110. Epub 2013 May 6.

Coles GL1, Ackerman KG. Author information

Abstract Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is a common birth defect that results in a high degree of neonatal morbidity and mortality, but its pathological mechanisms are largely unknown. Therefore, we performed a forward genetic screen in mice to identify unique genes, models, and mechanisms of abnormal diaphragm development. We identified a mutant allele of kinesin family member 7 (Kif7), the disorganized diaphragm (dd). Embryos homozygous for the dd allele possess communicating diaphragmatic hernias, central tendon patterning defects, and increased cell proliferation with diaphragmatic tissue hyperplasia. Because the patterning of the central tendon is undescribed, we analyzed the expression of genes regulating tendonogenesis in dd/dd mutant embryos, and we determined that retinoic acid (RA) signaling was misregulautted. To further investigate the role of Kif7 and RA signaling in the development of the embryonic diaphragm, we established primary mesenchymal cultures of WT embryonic day 13.5 diaphragmatic cells. We determined that RA signaling is necessary for the expression of tendon markers as well as the expression of other CDH-associated genes. Knockdown of Kif7, and retinoic acid receptors alpha (Rara), beta (Rarb), and gamma (Rarg) indicated that RA signaling is dependent on these genes to promote tendonogenesis within the embryonic diaphragm. Taken together, our results provide evidence for a model in which inhibition of RA receptor signaling promotes CDH pathogenesis through a complex gene network. KEYWORDS: Gli transcription factors, myotendonous junction, tendon differentiation

PMID 23650387


Congenital diaphragmatic hernia

Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2012 Jan 3;7:1.

Tovar JA. Source Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Department of Pediatric Surgery, Hospital Universitario La Paz, Madrid, Spain.


Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) is defined by the presence of an orifice in the diaphragm, more often left and posterolateral that permits the herniation of abdominal contents into the thorax. The lungs are hypoplastic and have abnormal vessels that cause respiratory insufficiency and persistent pulmonary hypertension with high mortality. About one third of cases have cardiovascular malformations and lesser proportions have skeletal, neural, genitourinary, gastrointestinal or other defects. CDH can be a component of Pallister-Killian, Fryns, Ghersoni-Baruch, WAGR, Denys-Drash, Brachman-De Lange, Donnai-Barrow or Wolf-Hirschhorn syndromes. Some chromosomal anomalies involve CDH as well. The incidence is < 5 in 10,000 live-births. The etiology is unknown although clinical, genetic and experimental evidence points to disturbances in the retinoid-signaling pathway during organogenesis. Antenatal diagnosis is often made and this allows prenatal management (open correction of the hernia in the past and reversible fetoscopic tracheal obstruction nowadays) that may be indicated in cases with severe lung hypoplasia and grim prognosis. Treatment after birth requires all the refinements of critical care including extracorporeal membrane oxygenation prior to surgical correction. The best hospital series report 80% survival but it remains around 50% in population-based studies. Chronic respiratory tract disease, neurodevelopmental problems, neurosensorial hearing loss and gastroesophageal reflux are common problems in survivors. Much more research on several aspects of this severe condition is warranted.

PMID 22214468

Congenital diaphragmatic hernia candidate genes derived from embryonic transcriptomes

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Feb 21;109(8):2978-83. Epub 2012 Feb 6.

Russell MK, Longoni M, Wells J, Maalouf FI, Tracy AA, Loscertales M, Ackerman KG, Pober BR, Lage K, Bult CJ, Donahoe PK. Source Pediatric Surgical Research Laboratories, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is a common (1 in 3,000 live births) major congenital malformation that results in significant morbidity and mortality. The discovery of CDH loci using standard genetic approaches has been hindered by its genetic heterogeneity. We hypothesized that gene expression profiling of developing embryonic diaphragms would help identify genes likely to be associated with diaphragm defects. We generated a time series of whole-transcriptome expression profiles from laser captured embryonic mouse diaphragms at embryonic day (E)11.5 and E12.5 when experimental perturbations lead to CDH phenotypes, and E16.5 when the diaphragm is fully formed. Gene sets defining biologically relevant pathways and temporal expression trends were identified by using a series of bioinformatic algorithms. These developmental sets were then compared with a manually curated list of genes previously shown to cause diaphragm defects in humans and in mouse models. Our integrative filtering strategy identified 27 candidates for CDH. We examined the diaphragms of knockout mice for one of the candidate genes, pre-B-cell leukemia transcription factor 1 (Pbx1), and identified a range of previously undetected diaphragmatic defects. Our study demonstrates the utility of genetic characterization of normal development as an integral part of a disease gene identification and prioritization strategy for CDH, an approach that can be extended to other diseases and developmental anomalies.

PMID 22315423


Pleuroperitoneal canal closure and the fetal adrenal gland

Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2011 Apr;294(4):633-44. doi: 10.1002/ar.21351. Epub 2011 Mar 2.

Hayashi S, Fukuzawa Y, Rodríguez-Vázquez JF, Cho BH, Verdugo-López S, Murakami G, Nakano T. Source Medical Education Center, Aichi Medical University School of Medicine, Nagakute, Japan.


Pleuroperitoneal canal (PP canal) closure is generally considered to result from an increase in the height, and subsequent fusion, of the bilateral pleuroperitoneal folds (PP folds). However, the folds develop in the area ventral to the adrenal, in contrast to the final position of the diaphragm, which extends to the dorsal side of the adrenal (the "retro-adrenal" diaphragm). We examined the semiserial histology of 20 human embryos and fetuses (crown-rump length 11-40 mm). We started observations of the canal at the stage through which the lung bud extends far caudally along the dorsal body wall to the level of the future adrenal, and the phrenic nerve has already reached the PP fold. Subsequently, the developing adrenal causes narrowing of the dorsocaudal parts of the canal, and provides the bilateral midsagittal recesses or "false" bottoms of the pleural cavity. However, at this stage, the PP fold mesenchymal cells are still restricted to the ventral side of the adrenal, especially along the liver and esophagus. Thereafter, in accordance with ascent of the lung, possibly due to anchoring of the liver to the adrenal, the PP fold mesenchymal cells seem to migrate laterally along the coelomic mesothelium covering some sheet-like loose mesenchymal tissue behind the adrenal. Final closure of the PP canal by lateral migration to provide the "retro-adrenal" diaphragm is a process quite different from the common dogma. It is likely that the sheet-like loose mesenchymal tissue becomes the caudal part of the pleural cavity through a process involving cell death. Copyright © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

PMID 21370493


Early development of the primordial mammalian diaphragm and cellular mechanisms of nitrofen-induced congenital diaphragmatic hernia

Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. 2010 Jan;88(1):15-24.

Clugston RD, Zhang W, Greer JJ. Source Department of Physiology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is a frequently occurring cause of neonatal respiratory distress and is associated with high mortality and long-term morbidity. Evidence from animal models suggests that CDH has its origins in the malformation of the pleuroperitoneal fold (PPF), a key structure in embryonic diaphragm formation. The aims of this study were to characterize the embryogenesis of the PPF in rats and humans, and to determine the potential mechanism that leads to abnormal PPF development in the nitrofen model of CDH. Analysis of rat embryos, and archived human embryo sections, allowed the timeframe of PPF formation to be determined for both species, thus delineating a critical period of diaphragm development in relation to CDH. Experiments on nitrofen-exposed NIH 3T3 cells in vitro led us to hypothesize that nitrofen might cause diaphragmatic hernia in vivo by two possible mechanisms: through decreased cell proliferation or by inducing apoptosis. Data from nitrofen-exposed rat embryos indicates that the primary mechanism of nitrofen teratogenesis in the PPF is through decreased cell proliferation. This study provides novel insight into the embryogenesis of the PPF in rats and humans, and it indicates that impaired cell proliferation might contribute to abnormal diaphragm development in the nitrofen model of CDH. Copyright 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

PMID 19711422