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Front Physiol. 2011 Dec 20;2:103. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2011.00103. eCollection 2011.

Hypoxia and extracellular matrix proteins influence angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis in mouse embryoid bodies.

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Division of Lymphatic Biology, Department of Systems Biology and Translational Medicine, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, Cardiovascular Research Institute College Station, TX, USA.


Regulatory mechanisms for angiogenesis are relatively well established compared to lymphangiogenesis. Few studies have shown that a combination of vascular endothelial growth factor VEGF-A/C with hypoxia or collagen matrix promotes lymphatic structures along with blood vessel development in mouse embryoid bodies (EB). In this study we tested the hypothesis that while hypoxia combined with prolonged VEGF-A/C treatment would induce early lymphangiogenesis in addition to angiogenesis in mouse EBs, under similar conditions specific extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins would promote lymphatic vessel-like structures over angiogenesis. EBs were subjected to four conditions and were maintained under normoxia and hypoxia (21% and 2.6% O(2), respectively) with or without VEGF-A/C. Microarray analyses of normoxic and hypoxic EBs, and immunofluorescence data showed very low expression of early lymphatic endothelial cell (LEC) markers, lymphatic vessel endothelial hyaluronan receptor 1 (LYVE1), and prospero-related homeobox 1 (Prox1) at early time points. Double immunofluorescence using MECA-32 and Prox1/LYVE1 demonstrated that combined hypoxia and VEGF-A/C treatment promoted formation of blood vessel-like structures, whereas only Prox1(+)/LYVE1(+) LECs were detected in EBs at E22.5. Furthermore, EBs were grown on laminin or collagen-I coated plates and were subjected to the four treatments as described above. Results revealed that LECs in EBs at E36.5 attached better to collagen-I, resulting in an organized network of lymphatic vessel-like structures as compared to EBs grown on laminin. However, blood vessel-like structures were less favored under these same conditions. Collectively, our data demonstrate that hypoxia combined with growth factors promotes angiogenesis, whereas combination of these conditions with specific ECM proteins favors lymphangiogenesis processes in mouse EBs.


VEGF; angiogenesis; embryoid body; hypoxia; lymphangiogenesis

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