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Learning Developmental Biology
Collaborative Resources for Learning Developmental Biology
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Mechanisms of Angiogenesis
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Mary Dickinson

Additional Author(s): Ryan Udan and James Culver

Published on SDB CoRe: Feb 15 2013

Embryonic Patterning: Segmentation
Morphogenesis: Tubes and Branching
Mesoderm-derived: Cardiovascular System
Organism: Chick, Mouse, Bat, Human, Quail
Stage of Development: Embryo

Object Description

Vasculogenesis is the process in which vessels form de novo from the coalescence of endothelial cell precursors, whereas angiogenesis involves the formation of new vessels from a pre-existing, established vasculature. During vasculogenesis, rudimentary vascular structures such as the capillary plexus (top of figure), dorsal aorta or anterior cardinal vein become the foundation from which other vessel networks form. These structures become patterned and initiate a genetic program to establish endothelial cell heterogeneity by regulating gene expression profiles that designate the arterial (red) and venous (blue) vessels. Once a vessel network is established, new vessels are created and mature via angiogenic mechanisms. For example, new vessels can be created by sprouting from pre-existing vessels or by intussusception, the formation of transcapillary pillars which split vessels in half. Furthermore, vessel hierarchy and maturation can be established by creating larger vessels through fusion of smaller vessels, eliminating supernumerary vessels upon regression, and altering branch angle geometries (also through intussusception). Finally, vessel networks can be stabilized by the association of smooth muscle cells (tan cells) which act to promote vessel stability and permeability, and facilitate vasodilation and vasoconstriction to control blood flow. WIREs Dev Biol 2012. DOI: 10.1002/wdev.91


Udan, R.S., Culver, J.C., Dickinson, M.E. Understanding vascular development. WIREs Dev Biol, Published Online: Oct 05 2012.

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