Tissue deformation spatially modulates VEGF signaling and angiogenesis

Nicolas C. Rivron, Erik J. Vrij, Jeroen Rouwkema, Severine le Gac, Albert van den Berg, Roman K. Truckenmüller, Clemens A. van Blitterswijk

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    Physical forces play a major role in the organization of developing tissues. During vascular development, physical forces originating from a fluid phase or from cells pulling on their environment can alter cellular signaling and the behavior of cells. Here, we observe how tissue deformation spatially modulates angiogenic signals and angiogenesis. Using soft lithographic templates, we assemble three-dimensional, geometric tissues. The tissues contract autonomously, change shape stereotypically and form patterns of vascular structures in regions of high deformations. We show that this emergence correlates with the formation of a long-range gradient of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) in interstitial cells, the local overexpression of the corresponding receptor VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR-2) and local differences in endothelial cells proliferation. We suggest that tissue contractility and deformation can induce the formation of gradients of angiogenic microenvironments which could contribute to the long-range patterning of the vascular system.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)6886-6891
    Number of pages6
    JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
    Issue number18
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2012


    • METIS-286389
    • EWI-21917
    • IR-80519

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