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Marcus Fruttiger; Development of the Mouse Retinal Vasculature: Angiogenesis Versus Vasculogenesis. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2002;43(2):522-527.
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purpose. The inner vasculature of the retina develops as a spreading network,
which is preceded by spindle-shaped cells. These cells are alleged to
be vascular precursor cells (angioblasts). This study was designed to
test whether such angioblasts exist in neonatal mouse retina.
methods. In situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry on mouse retinal
wholemount preparations were used to visualize specific vascular cell
results. In situ hybridization with an RNA probe against vascular endothelial
growth factor receptor (VEGFR)-2 (a marker for endothelial cells and
angioblasts) labeled the vascular network but failed to label the
spindle-shaped cells in front of it. A probe against VEGFR1, a marker
for endothelial cells only, revealed the same staining pattern.
Pericytes, visualized with a probe against platelet-derived growth
receptor (PDGFR)-β, were spread over the entire vessel network, but
not beyond it. However, in situ hybridization with a probe against
PDGFRα (a marker for retinal astrocytes) labeled spindle-shaped cells
preceding the vessel network.
conclusions. These observations imply that in the mouse retina the spindle-shaped
cells preceding the forming vasculature are immature retinal astrocytes
and not vascular precursor cells and that the primary vascular network
in the retina develops by angiogenesis (budding from existing vessels)
and not vasculogenesis (assembly of dispersed
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