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Nat Neurosci. 2008 Apr;11(4):429-39. doi: 10.1038/nn2074. Epub 2008 Mar 16.

Compartment-specific transcription factors orchestrate angiogenesis gradients in the embryonic brain.

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Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, USA.


Prevailing notions of cerebral vascularization imply that blood vessels sprout passively into the brain parenchyma from pial vascular plexuses to meet metabolic needs of growing neuronal populations. Endothelial cells, building blocks of blood vessels, are thought to be homogeneous in the brain with respect to their origins, gene expression patterns and developmental mechanisms. These current notions that cerebral angiogenesis is regulated by local environmental signals contrast with current models of cell-autonomous regulation of neuronal development. Here we demonstrate that telencephalic angiogenesis in mice progresses in an orderly, ventral-to-dorsal gradient regulated by compartment-specific homeobox transcription factors. Our data offer new perspectives on intrinsic regulation of angiogenesis in the embryonic telencephalon, call for a revision of the current models of telencephalic angiogenesis and support novel roles for endothelial cells in brain development.

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