AimRecent interest in cardiogenesis has focused on the epicardium, the outer epithelial layer that envelops the heart. Epicardial-derived cells (EPDCs) contribute vascular smooth muscle to developing coronary vessels and provide critical signalling cues to facilitate myocardial functionality. However, the precise molecular mechanisms that underpin epicardial biology remain unclear. Ablation of Myh10 in the EHC mouse results in embryonic lethal cardiac malformations, including epicardial and coronary defects. We sought to establish the role of Myh10 in epicardial cell function to further dissect the coronary vessel developmental pathway, a deeper understanding of which may inform the design of therapeutics to regenerate and repair the injured heart.MethodsUtilising multiple cell and developmental biology techniques, we generated a pathological evaluation of the EHC phenotype. EPDC migration was investigated in vivo with Wt1 immunohistochemistry, and in vitro by performing scratch wound assays on epicardial cell cultures. Congruently, we examined the ability of epicardial cells to undergo EMT in vivo by employing Snail and Phosphohistone-H3 immunohistochemistry.ResultsOur studies reveal that EHC epicardial cells have a reduced capacity to invade the ventricular myocardium. Furthermore, we discovered increased proliferation and reduced Snail expression specifically within the EHC epicardium, consistent with EMT dysregulation. Interestingly, epicardial cell function did not appear to be disrupted in vitro.ConclusionThese results demonstrate a novel role for Myh10 in both EPDC migration and the promotion of epicardial EMT. Our finding that migration is unaffected in vitro suggests that the unique properties of the in vivo epicardial microenvironment dictate a requirement for Myh10 in order to elicit correct epicardial function. Together, this research enhances our understanding of the dysfunctional processes that contribute to abnormal cardiogenesis; these insights may aid our ability to determine the molecular regulators of coronary vessel development, and create therapeutics to regenerate vessel growth and repair injured cardiac tissue in cardiovascular disease.