Hemodynamic force is required for vascular smooth muscle cell recruitment to blood vessels during mouse embryonic development


Blood vessel maturation, which is characterized by the investment of vascular smooth muscle cells (vSMCs) around developing blood vessels, begins when vessels remodel into a hierarchy of proximal arteries and proximal veins that branch into smaller distal capillaries. The ultimate result of maturation is formation of the tunica media—the middlemost layer of a vessel that is composed of vSMCs and acts to control vessel integrity and vascular tone. Though many studies have implicated the role of various signaling molecules in regulating maturation, no studies have determined a role for hemodynamic force in the regulation of maturation in the mouse. In the current study, we provide evidence that a hemodynamic force-dependent mechanism occurs in the mouse because reduced blood flow mouse embryos exhibited a diminished or absent coverage of vSMCs around vessels, and in normal-flow embryos, extent of coverage correlated to the amount of blood flow that vessels were exposed to. We also determine that the cellular mechanism of force-induced maturation was not by promoting vSMC differentiation/proliferation, but instead involved the recruitment of vSMCs away from neighboring low-flow distal capillaries towards high-flow vessels. Finally, we hypothesize that hemodynamic force may regulate expression of specific signaling molecules to control vSMC recruitment to high-flow vessels, as reduction of flow results in the misexpression of Semaphorin 3A, 3F, 3G, and the Notch target gene Hey1, all of which are implicated in controlling vessel maturation. This study reveals another role for hemodynamic force in regulating blood vessel development of the mouse, and opens up a new model to begin elucidating mechanotransduction pathways regulating vascular maturation.



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Supplementary data to this article can be found online at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mod.2019.02.002
Funding provided by Missouri State University Graduate College funding (RachelPadget), and Faculty Fellowship funding at Missouri State University (Ryan Udan).




Hemodynamic force, Mouse embryo, Vascular maturation, Vascular smooth muscle cell

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Mechanisms of Development