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Development. 2003 Nov;130(21):5281-90. Epub 2003 Sep 3.

Angiogenic network formation in the developing vertebrate trunk.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, NICHD, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


We have used time-lapse multiphoton microscopy of living Tg(fli1:EGFP)y1 zebrafish embryos to examine how a patterned, functional network of angiogenic blood vessels is generated in the early vertebrate trunk. Angiogenic vascular sprouts emerge from the longitudinal trunk axial vessels (the dorsal aorta and posterior cardinal vein) in two spatially and temporally distinct steps. Dorsal aorta-derived sprouts form an initial primary network of vascular segments, followed by emergence of vein-derived secondary vascular sprouts that interact and interconnect dynamically with the primary network to initiate vascular flow. Using transgenic silent heart mutant embryos, we show that the gross anatomical patterning of this network of vessels does not require blood circulation. However, our results suggest that circulatory flow dynamics play an important role in helping to determine the pattern of interconnections between the primary network and secondary sprouts, and thus the final arterial or venous identity of the vessels in the functional network. We discuss a model to explain our results combining genetic programming of overall vascular architecture with hemodynamic determination of circulatory flow patterns.

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