Heart

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The heart is a myogenic muscular organ found in all animals with a circulatory system (including all vertebrates), that is responsible for pumping blood throughout the blood vessels by repeated, rhythmic contractions. The term cardiac (as in cardiology) means "related to the heart" and comes from the Greek καρδιά, kardia, for "heart".

The vertebrate heart is composed of cardiac muscle, which is an involuntary striated muscle tissue found only in this organ, and connective tissue. The average human heart, beating at 72 beats per minute, will beat approximately 2.5 billion times during an average 66 year lifespan, and weighs approximately 250 to 300 grams (9 to 11 oz) in females and 300 to 350 grams (11 to 12 oz) in males.[1]

In invertebrates that possess a circulatory system, the heart is typically a tube or small sac and pumps fluid that contains water and nutrients such as proteins, fats, and sugars. In insects, the "heart" is often called the dorsal tube and insect "blood" is almost always not oxygenated since they usually respirate (breathe) directly from their body surfaces (internal and external) to air. However, the hearts of some other arthropods (including spiders and crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp) and some other animals pump hemolymph, which contains the copper-based protein hemocyanin as an oxygen transporter similar to the iron-based hemoglobin in red blood cells found in vertebrates.

Contents

Early development

The mammalian heart is derived from embryonic mesoderm germ-layer cells that differentiate after gastrulation into mesothelium, endothelium, and myocardium. Mesothelial pericardium forms the outer lining of the heart. The inner lining of the heart, lymphatic and blood vessels, develop from endothelium. Heart muscle is termed myocardium.[2]

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