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Blood. 2002 Aug 15;100(4):1326-33.

Regulation of vasculogenesis and angiogenesis by EphB/ephrin-B2 signaling between endothelial cells and surrounding mesenchymal cells.

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  • 1Department of Cell Differentiation, the Institute of Molecular Embryology and Genetics, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto, Japan.


Although the cellular and molecular mechanisms governing angiogenesis are only beginning to be understood, signaling through endothelial-restricted receptors, particularly receptor tyrosine kinases, has been shown to play a pivotal role in these events. Recent reports show that EphB receptor tyrosine kinases and their transmembrane-type ephrin-B2 ligands play essential roles in the embryonic vasculature. These studies suggest that cell-to-cell repellent effects due to bidirectional EphB/ephrin-B2 signaling may be crucial for vascular development, similar to the mechanism described for neuronal development. To test this hypothesis, we disrupted the precise expression pattern of EphB/ephrin-B2 in vivo by generating transgenic (CAGp-ephrin-B2 Tg) mice that express ephrin-B2 under the control of a ubiquitous and constitutive promoter, CMV enhancer-beta-actin promoter-beta-globin splicing acceptor (CAG). These mice displayed an abnormal segmental arrangement of intersomitic vessels, while such anomalies were not observed in Tie-2p-ephrin-B2 Tg mice in which ephrin-B2 was overexpressed in only vascular endothelial cells (ECs). This finding suggests that non-ECs expressing ephrin-B2 alter the migration of ECs expressing EphB receptors into the intersomitic region where ephrin-B2 expression is normally absent. CAGp-ephrin-B2 Tg mice show sudden death at neonatal stages from aortic dissecting aneurysms due to defective recruitment of vascular smooth muscle cells to the ascending aorta. EphB/ephrin-B2 signaling between endothelial cells and surrounding mesenchymal cells plays an essential role in vasculogenesis, angiogenesis, and vessel maturation.

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