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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Jun 22;101(25):9247-50. Epub 2004 Jun 14.

Pattern formation by vascular mesenchymal cells.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, 90095, USA.


In embryogenesis, immature mesenchymal cells aggregate and organize into patterned tissues. Later in life, a pathological recapitulation of this process takes place in atherosclerotic lesions, when vascular mesenchymal cells organize into trabecular bone tissue within the artery wall. Here we show that multipotential adult vascular mesenchymal cells self-organize in vitro into patterns that are predicted by a mathematical model based on molecular morphogens interacting in a reaction-diffusion process. We identify activator and inhibitor morphogens for stripe, spot, and labyrinthine patterns and confirm the model predictions in vitro. Thus, reaction-diffusion principles may play a significant role in morphogenetic processes in adult mesenchymal cells.

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