Developmental Biology

Growing Vessels

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Science  11 Oct 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6155, pp. 163
DOI: 10.1126/science.342.6155.163-c
CREDIT: Adapted with permission from Udan et al..

Blood flow in an animal is not only made possible by blood vessel structure, but it also governs the development and remodeling of the vessels themselves. However, little is known about how mechanical forces affect endothelial cells so as to alter vessel diameter. Udan et al. have used time-lapse confocal microscopy to monitor vessel architecture and remodeling in cultured mouse embryos. Larger-diameter vessels contain more endothelial cells, but their proliferation was not affected by blood flow. Furthermore, changes in cell death did not account for vessel diameter variation. Instead, they observed that vessel fusion and directed endothelial cell migration depended on blood flow and that both contributed to an increase in vessel size. The former occurs near the vitelline artery and vein, where fluid flow is high, whereas the latter involves the migration and recruitment of endothelial cells from capillaries to regions of greater need. This work nicely elucidates the behavioral biomechanics of cells in vessel remodeling during development.

Development 140, 4041 (2013).

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