Splanchnic Mesoderm

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splanchnic mesoderm
Cartoon embryo cross-section showing early location of splanchnic mesoderm.

Mesoderm lying close to endoderm formed by the separation of the lateral plate mesoderm into two separate components by a cavity, the intraembryonic coelom. Splanchnic mesoderm is the embryonic origin of the second heart field, gastrointestinal tract connective tissue, smooth muscle, blood vessels and contribute to organ development (pancreas, spleen, liver). The intraembryonic coelom will form the three major body cavities including the space surrounding the gut, the peritoneal cavity. The other half of the lateral plate mesoderm (somatic mesoderm) is associated with the ectoderm of the body wall.

Anterior lateral plate mesoderm (ALPM) generates the cardiac progenitor field (second heart field), beside the cranial paraxial mesoderm.

Links: gastrointestinal tract | smooth muscle | heart

Some Recent Findings

  • Planar cell polarity signaling regulates polarized second heart field morphogenesis to promote both arterial and venous pole septation[1] "The second heart field (SHF) harbors progenitors that are important for heart formation, but little is known about its morphogenesis. We show that SHF population in the mouse splanchnic mesoderm (SpM-SHF) undergoes polarized morphogenesis to preferentially elongate anteroposteriorly. Loss of Wnt5, a putative ligand of the planar cell polarity (PCP) pathway, causes the SpM-SHF to expand isotropically. Temporal tracking reveals that the Wnt5a lineage is a unique subpopulation specified as early as E7.5, and undergoes bi-directional deployment to form specifically the pulmonary trunk and the dorsal mesenchymal protrusion (DMP). In Wnt5a-/- mutants, Wnt5a lineage fails to extend into the arterial and venous poles, leading to both outflow tract and atrial septation defects that can be rescued by an activated form of PCP effector Daam1. We identify oriented actomyosin cables in the medial SpM-SHF as a potential Wnt5a-mediated mechanism that promotes SpM-SHF lengthening and restricts its widening. Finally, the Wnt5a lineage also contributes to the pulmonary mesenchyme, suggesting that Wnt5a/PCP is a molecular circuit recruited by the recently identified cardiopulmonary progenitors to coordinate morphogenesis of the pulmonary airways and the cardiac septations necessary for pulmonary circulation."
  • Developmental Mechanism of Limb Field Specification along the Anterior-Posterior Axis during Vertebrate Evolution[2] "In gnathostomes, limb buds arise from the lateral plate mesoderm at discrete positions along the body axis. Specification of these limb-forming fields can be subdivided into several steps. The lateral plate mesoderm is regionalized into the anterior lateral plate mesoderm (ALPM; cardiac mesoderm) and the posterior lateral plate mesoderm (PLPM). Subsequently, Hox genes appear in a nested fashion in the PLPM and provide positional information along the body axis. The lateral plate mesoderm then splits into the somatic and splanchnic layers. In the somatic layer of the PLPM, the expression of limb initiation genes appears in the limb-forming region, leading to limb bud initiation. Furthermore, past and current work in limbless amphioxus and lampreys suggests that evolutionary changes in developmental programs occurred during the acquisition of paired fins during vertebrate evolution. This review presents these recent advances and discusses the mechanisms of limb field specification during development and evolution, with a focus on the role of Hox genes in this process."
More recent papers  
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Search term: Splanchnic Mesoderm

Older papers  
These papers originally appeared in the Some Recent Findings table, but as that list grew in length have now been shuffled down to this collapsible table.

See also the Discussion Page for other references listed by year and References on this current page.


The nested tables below show an overview of the different mesoderm-derived tissues (links go to topic pages).
intervertebral disc nucleus pulposis
unsegmented paraxial  
head mesoderm
segmented paraxial  
axial skeleton
vertebral body intervertebral disc
renal genital
lateral plate
body wall connective tissue
intra-embryonic coelom  
pericardial cavity pleural cavity peritoneal cavity
splanchnic mesoderm
heart blood vessels gastrointestinal tract connective tissue gastrointestinal tract smooth muscle respiratory connective tissue
placental membranes
placental villi
amnion chorion yolk sac villi connective tissue villi blood vessels
Overview: Ectoderm | Mesoderm | Endoderm Layers: ectoderm | mesoderm | endoderm

Hierarchical View  
mesoderm - (hierarchical view)
  1. embryonic mesoderm
    1. axial
      1. notochord
        1. axial skeleton - nucleus pulpous
    2. paraxial
      1. unsegmented paraxial
      2. segmented paraxial somites
        1. sclerotome
          1. syndetome - tendon
          2. axial skeleton - vertebral body, intervertebral disc
        2. dermomyotome
          1. dermis - integumentary dermis, hypodermis
          2. myotome skeletal muscle
    3. intermediate
      1. renal
      2. genital
    4. lateral plate
      1. somatic
      2. intraembryonic coelom
        1. pericardial
        2. pleural
        3. peritoneal
      3. splanchnic mesoderm
  2. extra-embryonic mesoderm
    1. placental membranes
      1. amnion, chorion, yolk sac
    2. placental villi
      1. villi connective tissue, villi blood vessels
Germ Layers: ectoderm | mesoderm | endoderm


  1. Li D, Angermeier A & Wang J. (2019). Planar cell polarity signaling regulates polarized second heart field morphogenesis to promote both arterial and venous pole septation. Development , 146, . PMID: 31488563 DOI.
  2. Tanaka M. (2016). Developmental Mechanism of Limb Field Specification along the Anterior-Posterior Axis during Vertebrate Evolution. J Dev Biol , 4, . PMID: 29615584 DOI.


Lawson LY & Harfe BD. (2017). Developmental mechanisms of intervertebral disc and vertebral column formation. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Dev Biol , 6, . PMID: 28719048 DOI.


Imuta Y, Koyama H, Shi D, Eiraku M, Fujimori T & Sasaki H. (2014). Mechanical control of notochord morphogenesis by extra-embryonic tissues in mouse embryos. Mech. Dev. , 132, 44-58. PMID: 24509350 DOI.

Lee JD & Anderson KV. (2008). Morphogenesis of the node and notochord: the cellular basis for the establishment and maintenance of left-right asymmetry in the mouse. Dev. Dyn. , 237, 3464-76. PMID: 18629866 DOI.

Nathan E, Monovich A, Tirosh-Finkel L, Harrelson Z, Rousso T, Rinon A, Harel I, Evans SM & Tzahor E. (2008). The contribution of Islet1-expressing splanchnic mesoderm cells to distinct branchiomeric muscles reveals significant heterogeneity in head muscle development. Development , 135, 647-57. PMID: 18184728 DOI.

Dong F, Sun X, Liu W, Ai D, Klysik E, Lu MF, Hadley J, Antoni L, Chen L, Baldini A, Francis-West P & Martin JF. (2006). Pitx2 promotes development of splanchnic mesoderm-derived branchiomeric muscle. Development , 133, 4891-9. PMID: 17107996 DOI.

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Search NLM Online Textbooks: "Splanchnic Mesoderm" : Developmental Biology | The Cell- A molecular Approach | Molecular Biology of the Cell | Endocrinology

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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, June 21) Embryology Splanchnic Mesoderm. Retrieved from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Splanchnic_Mesoderm

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