Cardiovascular System - Spleen Development

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The spleen is located on the left side of the abdomen and has a role initially in blood and then immune system development. The spleen's haematopoietic function (blood cell formation) is lost with embryo development and lymphoid precursor cells migrate into the developing organ. Vascularization of the spleen arises initially by branches from the dorsal aorta. Mesoderm within the dorsal mesogastrium form a long strip of cells adjacent to the forming stomach above the developing pancreas.

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

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Some Recent Findings

Ontogeny of reticular framework of white pulp and marginal zone in human spleen: immunohistochemical studies of fetal spleens from the 17th to 40th week of gestation. Satoh T, Sakurai E, Tada H, Masuda T. Cell Tissue Res. 2009 May;336(2):287-97. PMID: 1925578

Amir Asayesh, James Sharpe, Robert P. Watson, Jacob Hecksher-Sørensen, Nicholas D. Hastie, Robert E. Hill and Ulf Ahlgren Spleen versus pancreas: strict control of organ interrelationship revealed by analyses of Bapx1–/– mice. Genes and Development 20:2208-2213, 2006

"During early stages of pancreatic development, the mesenchyme that contributes to the spleen overlies the dorsal pancreatic endoderm. Here, we show that interactions between splenic mesenchyme and pancreas proceed via a highly orchestrated morphogenetic program. ...Similar transformations occur in organ cultures employing wild-type pancreatic endoderm and spleen mesenchyme, revealing the developmental plasticity of the pancreas and that precise spatial and temporal control of tissue interactions are required for development of both organs."

Fetal and early post-natal development of the human spleen: from primordial arterial B cell lobules to a non-segmented organ. Steiniger B, Ulfig N, Risse M, Barth PJ. Histochem Cell Biol. 2007 Sep;128(3):205-15. Epub 2007 Jul 12. PMID: 17624541

"Immunohistological analysis of 31 human spleens from the 11th week of gestation to the early postnatal period suggested that fetal organ development may be preliminarily divided into four stages."

Drayton DL, Liao S, Mounzer RH, Ruddle NH. Lymphoid organ development: from ontogeny to neogenesis. Nat Immunol. 2006 Apr;7(4):344-53. Review

"... At one end are the 'canonical' secondary lymphoid organs, including lymph nodes and spleen; at the other end are 'ectopic' or tertiary lymphoid organs, which are cellular accumulations arising during chronic inflammation by the process of lymphoid neogenesis."

Development Overview

File:Git3.gif The human spleen arises in week 5 within the dorsal mesogastrium as proliferating mesenchyme overlying the dorsal pancreatic endoderm. Cells required for its hemopoietic function arise from the yolk sac wall and near dorsal aorta. The spleen generates both red and white cells in the 2nd trimester. Note that many embryonic RBCs remain nucleated.





Congenital absence of the spleen is usually accompanied by complex cardiac malformations, malposition and maldevelopment of the abdominal organs, and abnormal lobation of the lungs. (from OMIM)

Connexin-43 involved with abnormal spleen development (cardiac and lung also).



Drayton DL, Liao S, Mounzer RH, Ruddle NH. Lymphoid organ development: from ontogeny to neogenesis. Nat Immunol. 2006 Apr;7(4):344-53.

Shapiro-Shelef M, Calame K. Regulation of plasma-cell development. Nat Rev Immunol. 2005 Mar;5(3):230-42. Review.

Straub RH. Complexity of the bi-directional neuroimmune junction in the spleen. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2004 Dec;25(12):640-6. Review.

Balliu PR, Bregante J, Perez-Velasco MC, Fiol M, Galiana C, Herrera M, Mulet J. Splenic haemorrhage in a newborn as the first manifestation of wandering spleen syndrome. J Pediatr Surg. 2004 Feb;39(2):240-2. Review.

Chadburn A. The spleen: anatomy and anatomical function. Semin Hematol. 2000 Jan;37(1 Suppl 1):13-21.

Lane PA. The spleen in children. Curr Opin Pediatr. 1995 Feb;7(1):36-41. Review.

Search NCBI Bookshelf: Spleen Development

Search PubMed: Search August 2006 "Spleen Development" 13,401 reference articles of which 450 were reviews.

Search term = Spleen Development


Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2021, January 28) Embryology Cardiovascular System - Spleen Development. Retrieved from

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