A fossilização de coração é possível e informa a evolução da via de saída em vertebrados

terça-feira, abril 19, 2016

Tue, 19 Apr 2016

Heart fossilization is possible and informs the evolution of cardiac outflow tract in vertebrates

Lara Maldanis, Murilo Carvalho, Mariana Ramos Almeida, Francisco Idalécio Freitas, José Artur Ferreira Gomes de Andrade, Rafael Silva Nunes, Carlos Eduardo Rochitte, Ronei Jesus Poppi, Raul Oliveira Freitas, Fábio Rodrigues, Sandra Siljeström, Frederico Alves Lima, Douglas Galante, Ismar S Carvalho, Carlos Alberto Perez, Marcelo Rodrigues de Carvalho, Jefferson Bettini, Vincent Fernandez, José Xavier-Neto

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Elucidating cardiac evolution has been frustrated by lack of fossils. One celebrated enigma in cardiac evolution involves the transition from a cardiac outflow tract dominated by a multi-valved conus arteriosus in basal actinopterygians, to an outflow tract commanded by the non-valved, elastic, bulbus arteriosus in higher actinopterygians. We demonstrate that cardiac preservation is possible in the extinct fish Rhacolepis buccalis from the Brazilian Cretaceous. Using X-ray synchrotron microtomography, we show that Rhacolepis fossils display hearts with a conus arteriosus containing at least five valve rows. This represents a transitional morphology between the primitive, multivalvar, conal condition and the derived, monovalvar, bulbar state of the outflow tract in modern actinopterygians. Our data rescue a long-lost cardiac phenotype (119-113 Ma) and suggest that outflow tract simplification in actinopterygians is compatible with a gradual, rather than a drastic saltation event. Overall, our results demonstrate the feasibility of studying cardiac evolution in fossils.

eLife digest

Modern research has majorly advanced our understanding of how the heart works, and has led to new therapies for cardiac diseases. However, little is known about how the heart has evolved throughout the history of animals with backbones – a group that is collectively referred to as vertebrates. This is partly because the heart is made from soft muscle tissue, which does not fossilize as often as harder tissues such as bones.

Even though fossils of soft tissues are rare, paleontologists have already unearthed fossils of other soft organs such as the stomach and umbilical cord. These discoveries suggested that there was hope of finding fossil hearts, and now Maldanis, Carvalho et al. have indeed discovered fossil hearts in two specimens of an extinct species of bony fish called Rhacolepis buccalis. These fish were alive over 113 million years ago during the Cretaceous period, in an area that is now modern-day Brazil.

Like all known vertebrates, these R. buccalis fossils have valves between the heart and the major artery that carries blood out of the heart. Such valves are vital because they prevent pumped blood from flowing back into the heart. However, oddly, R. buccalis fossils show five of these valves, which is more than any advanced bony fish that is alive today. Comparing this with the situation in other fish species suggests that vertebrate hearts gradually evolved to become progressively simpler.

This discovery shows that it is possible to study heart evolution with fossils. Maldanis, Carvalho et al. hope that their findings will stimulate researchers from all over the world to examine the fossils of well-preserved animals in search of clues to help reconstruct the major steps in the evolution of the vertebrate heart.




Uma pesquisa científica importante que tem vários cientistas brasileiros!