VEGF Family Members Regulate Myocardial Tubulogenesis and Coronary Artery Formation in the Embryo
This article requires a subscription to view the full text. If you have a subscription you may use the login form below to view the article. Access to this article can also be purchased.
This study tested the hypothesis that coronary tubulogenesis and coronary artery formation require VEGF family members. Quail embryos were injected with soluble vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptors R1 (Flt-1), R2 (Flk-1), R3 (Flt-4), VEGF-Trap (a chimera of R1 and R2), or neutralizing antibodies to VEGF-A, VEGF-B, or fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-2. Our data document that tubulogenesis is temporally dependent on multiple VEGF family members, because the early stage of tubulogenesis was markedly inhibited by VEGF-Trap and to a lesser extent by soluble VEGFR-1. Some inhibition of tubulogenesis was documented when anti-FGF-2, but not anti-VEGF-A, antibodies were injected at embryonic day 6 (E6). Most importantly, we found that VEGF-Trap injected at either E6 or E7 prevented the formation of coronary arteries. Soluble VEGFR-1 and soluble VEGFR-2 modified the formation of coronary arteries, whereas soluble VEGFR-3 was without effect. Antibodies to VEGF-B, but not VEGF-A, had a strong inhibitory effect on coronary artery development. The absence of coronary artery stems, and thus a functional coronary circulation, in the embryos injected with VEGF-Trap caused an accumulation of erythrocytes in the subepicardium and muscular interventricular septum. Using retroviral cell tagging, we showed that some of the erythrocytes in blood islands and small vascular tubes were progeny of the proepicardium. Thus, another salient finding of this study is the first definitive documentation of proepicardially derived hemangioblasts, which can differentiate into erythrocytes.