Cardiovascular System - Circulation Development

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Adult human cardiovascular system
Adult human cardiovascular system

The peripheral circulation, both arterial and venous, are extensively remodelled with embryonic and fetal development. The purpose of this current page is to provide a central resource link to this topic of adult circulatory organization from the embryonic vasculature. Due to the extensive developmental remodelling there are a large number of variations in vascular organization and agenesis.

This general topic is covered in a number of different pages on this site including both coronary circulation and neural circulation.

Circulation Links: Coronary and Neural
Cardiovascular Links: cardiovascular | Heart Tutorial | Lecture - Early Vascular | Lecture - Heart | Movies | 2016 Cardiac Review | heart | coronary circulation | heart valve | heart rate | Circulation | blood | blood vessel | blood vessel histology | heart histology | Lymphatic | ductus venosus | spleen | Stage 22 | cardiovascular abnormalities | OMIM | 2012 ECHO Meeting | Category:Cardiovascular
Historic Embryology - Cardiovascular 
1902 Vena cava inferior | 1905 Brain Blood Vessels | 1909 Cervical Veins | 1909 Dorsal aorta and umbilical veins | 1912 Heart | 1912 Human Heart | 1914 Earliest Blood-Vessels | 1915 Congenital Cardiac Disease | 1915 Dura Venous Sinuses | 1916 Blood cell origin | 1916 Pars Membranacea Septi | 1919 Lower Limb Arteries | 1921 Human Brain Vascular | 1921 Spleen | 1922 Aortic-Arch System | 1922 Pig Forelimb Arteries | 1922 Chicken Pulmonary | 1923 Head Subcutaneous Plexus | 1923 Ductus Venosus | 1925 Venous Development | 1927 Stage 11 Heart | 1928 Heart Blood Flow | 1935 Aorta | 1935 Venous valves | 1938 Pars Membranacea Septi | 1938 Foramen Ovale | 1939 Atrio-Ventricular Valves | 1940 Vena cava inferior | 1940 Early Hematopoiesis | 1941 Blood Formation | 1942 Truncus and Conus Partitioning | Ziegler Heart Models | 1951 Heart Movie | 1954 Week 9 Heart | 1957 Cranial venous system | 1959 Brain Arterial Anastomoses | Historic Embryology Papers | 2012 ECHO Meeting | 2016 Cardiac Review | Historic Disclaimer

Some Recent Findings

  • Infrahepatic inferior caval and azygos vein formation in mammals with different degrees of mesonephric development [1] "The caudal cardinal veins (CCVs) were the only contributors to the inferior caval (IVC) and azygos veins. Development was comparable if temporary vessels that drain the large porcine mesonephros were taken into account. The topography of the CCVs changed concomitant with expansion of adjacent organs (lungs, meso- and metanephroi). The iliac veins arose by gradual extension of the CCVs into the caudal body region. Irrespective of the degree of mesonephric development, the infrarenal part of the IVC developed from the right CCV and the renal part from vascular sprouts of the CCVs in the mesonephros that formed 'subcardinal' veins. The azygos venous system developed from the cranial remnants of the CCVs."
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Stage 19

Keibel Mall 2 447.jpg Reconstruction of Carnegie Embryo No. 390 arterial system.

Renal Arteries

  • Arise with ascent and inferior branches lost
  • Sequential, 25% population have 2 or more renal arteries
  • branch of abdominal aorta, divides into 4-5 branches
    • each gives off small branches to suprarenal glands, ureter, surrounding cellular tissue and muscles

Note: Frequently a second renal artery (inferior renal) from abdominal aorta at a lower level, supplies lower portion of kidney

See the review describing the variations in adult renal artery and vein organization.[2] of renal vascular anomalies shown in adults using computed tomography. The images below are from that review.

Links: Renal Vascular Anomalies | Renal

Coronary Arteries

Coronary Arteries Timeline

Based upon Carnegie Collection coronary vasculature in 351 staged and serially sectioned human embryos (Carnegie stages 9 to 23). [3]

Mouse Coronary Vessels

Mouse-coronary vessel formation.jpg

Image showing changes in venous (blue) and arterial (red) marker expression during coronary development; black indicates dedifferentiated venous cells.[4]

Links: Coronary Circulation Development


Azygos Vein

A recent study, using several species including human, has shown that the caudal cardinal veins are the only contributors to the inferior caval (IVC) and azygos veins.[1]

Azygos Timeline[5]

  • Carnegie stage 11 to Carnegie stage 15 - caudal cardinal veins extended caudally from the common cardinal vein.
  • Carnegie stage 15 to Carnegie stage 18 - caudal cardinal veins sprout ventrally form the sub cardinal vein plexus .
  • then caudal part of the left caudal cardinal vein regresses.
  • Inferior vena cava - infrarenal part from the right caudal cardinal vein; renal part from subcardinal veins.
  • Azygos veins - from the remaining cranial part or sprouting of the caudal cardinal veins.

Renal Veins

See the review describing the variations in adult renal artery and vein organization[2] of renal vascular anomalies shown in adults using computed tomography. The images below are from that review.

Links: Renal Vascular Anomalies | Renal


  • internal carotid artery segmental agenesis - asymptomatic and harmless[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Hikspoors JP, Mekonen HK, Mommen GM, Cornillie P, Köhler SE & Lamers WH. (2016). Infrahepatic inferior caval and azygos vein formation in mammals with different degrees of mesonephric development. J. Anat. , 228, 495-510. PMID: 26659476 DOI.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kumar S, Neyaz Z & Gupta A. (2010). The utility of 64 channel multidetector CT angiography for evaluating the renal vascular anatomy and possible variations: a pictorial essay. Korean J Radiol , 11, 346-54. PMID: 20461189 DOI.
  3. Hutchins GM, Kessler-Hanna A & Moore GW. (1988). Development of the coronary arteries in the embryonic human heart. Circulation , 77, 1250-7. PMID: 3286038
  4. Red-Horse K, Ueno H, Weissman IL & Krasnow MA. (2010). Coronary arteries form by developmental reprogramming of venous cells. Nature , 464, 549-53. PMID: 20336138 DOI.
  5. Hikspoors JP, Soffers JH, Mekonen HK, Cornillie P, Köhler SE & Lamers WH. (2015). Development of the human infrahepatic inferior caval and azygos venous systems. J. Anat. , 226, 113-25. PMID: 25496171 DOI.
  6. Alexandre AM, Visconti E, Schiarelli C, Frassanito P & Pedicelli A. (2016). Bilateral Internal Carotid Artery Segmental Agenesis: Embryology, Common Collateral Pathways, Clinical Presentation, and Clinical Importance of a Rare Condition. World Neurosurg , 95, 620.e9-620.e15. PMID: 27535626 DOI.



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See also Category:Heart ILP and Category:Heart

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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, May 18) Embryology Cardiovascular System - Circulation Development. Retrieved from

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