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Dev Biol. 2010 Dec 1;348(1):34-46. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2010.08.036. Epub 2010 Sep 9.

Cranial vasculature in zebrafish forms by angioblast cluster-derived angiogenesis.

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Division of Developmental Biology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.


Formation of embryonic vasculature involves vasculogenesis as endothelial cells differentiate and aggregate into vascular cords and angiogenesis which includes branching from the existing vessels. In the zebrafish which has emerged as an advantageous model to study vasculogenesis, cranial vasculature is thought to originate by a combination of vasculogenesis and angiogenesis, but how these processes are coordinated is not well understood. To determine how angioblasts assemble into cranial vasculature, we generated an etsrp:GFP transgenic line in which GFP reporter is expressed under the promoter control of an early regulator of vascular and myeloid development, etsrp/etv2. By utilizing time-lapse imaging we show that cranial vessels originate by angiogenesis from angioblast clusters, which themselves form by the mechanism of vasculogenesis. The two major pairs of bilateral clusters include the rostral organizing center (ROC) which gives rise to the most rostral cranial vessels and the midbrain organizing center (MOC) which gives rise to the posterior cranial vessels and to the myeloid and endocardial lineages. In Etsrp knockdown embryos initial cranial vasculogenesis proceeds normally but endothelial and myeloid progenitors fail to initiate differentiation, migration and angiogenesis. Such angioblast cluster-derived angiogenesis is likely to be involved during vasculature formation in other vertebrate systems as well.

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