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Dev Dyn. 2001 Sep;222(1):89-100.

Fibulin-2 expression marks transformed mesenchymal cells in developing cardiac valves, aortic arch vessels, and coronary vessels.

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Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology, Jefferson Institute of Molecular Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107, USA.


Previous studies showed that extracellular matrix protein, fibulin-2, is expressed during epithelial-mesenchymal transformation in the endocardial cushion matrix during embryonic heart development. Our current study revealed that, in addition to the cardiac valvuloseptal formation, fibulin-2 is synthesized by the smooth muscle precursor cells of developing aortic arch vessels and the coronary endothelial cells that are originated from neural crest cells and epicardial cells, respectively. In the cardiac valves and the aortic arch vessels, fibulin-2 expression shows robust up-regulation when the transformed mesenchymal cells migrate into the existing extracellular matrix. In the epicardium, epicardial cells produce fibulin-2 upon their migration over the myocardial surface and its expression persists throughout coronary vasculogenesis and angiogenesis. Fibulin-2 is produced by the endothelial cells of coronary arteries and veins but not by the capillary endothelial cells in the myocardium. Thus, fibulin-2 not only uniquely marks the transformed mesenchymal cells during mouse embryonic cardiovascular development, but also indicates vascular endothelial cells of coronary arteries and veins in postnatal life.

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