The vascular system forms as a branching network of endothelial cells that acquire identity as arterial, venous, hemogenic, or lymphatic. Endothelial specification depends on gene targets transcribed by Ets domain–containing factors, including Ets variant gene 2 (Etv2), together with the activity of chromatin-remodeling complexes containing Brahma-related gene-1 (Brg1). Once specified and assembled into vessels, mechanisms regulating lumen diameter and axial growth ensure that the structure of the branching vascular network matches the need for perfusion of target tissues. In addition, blood vessels provide important morphogenic cues that guide or direct the development of organs forming around them. As the embryo grows and lumen diameters increase, smooth muscle cells wrap around the nascent vessel walls to provide mechanical strength and vasomotor control of the circulation. Increasing mechanical stretch and wall strain promote smooth muscle cell differentiation via coupling of actin cytoskeletal remodeling to myocardin and serum response factor–dependent transcription. Remodeling of artery walls by developmental signaling pathways reappears in postnatal blood vessels during physiological and pathological adaptation to vessel wall injury, inflammation, or chronic hypoxia. Recent reports providing insights into major steps in vascular development are reviewed here with a particular emphasis on studies that have been recently published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.
Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology – Wolters Kluwer Health
Published: Mar 1, 2018
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