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Dev Biol. 2005 Jun 1;282(1):274-83.

Cyclooxygenase-1 signaling is required for vascular tube formation during development.

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Department of Medicine, Cell and Developmental Biology and Cancer Biology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University, 694 Preston Research Building, 2300 Pierce Ave, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.


Prostaglandin endoperoxide synthases (PTGS), commonly referred to as cyclooxygenases (COX-1 and COX-2), catalyze the key step in the synthesis of biologically active prostaglandins (PGs), the conversion of arachidonic acid (AA) into prostaglandin H2 (PGH2). Although COX and prostaglandins have been implicated in a wide variety of physiologic processes, an evaluation of the role of prostaglandins in early mammalian development has been difficult due to the maternal contribution of prostaglandins from the uterus: COX null mouse embryos develop normally during embryogenesis. Here, we verify that inhibition of COX-1 results in zebrafish gastrulation arrest and shows that COX-1 expression becomes restricted to the posterior mesoderm during somitogenesis and to posterior mesoderm organs at pharyngula stage. Inhibition of COX-1 signaling after gastrulation results in defective vascular tube formation and shortened intersomitic vessels in the posterior body region. These defects are rescued completely by PGE(2) treatment or, to a lesser extent, by PGF(2alpha), but not by other prostaglandins, such as PGI(2), TxB(2), or PGD(2). Functional knockdown of COX-1 using antisense morpholino oligonucleotide translation interference also results in posterior vessel defect in addition to enlarged posterior nephric duct, phenocopying the defects caused by inhibition of COX-1 activity. Together, we provide the first evidence that COX-1 signaling is required for development of posterior mesoderm organs, specifically in the vascular tube formation and posterior nephric duct development.

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