Emerging mechanisms of vascular stabilization


Dean Y. Li, Department of Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.
Tel.: 801 585 5505; fax: 801 585 5505.
E-mail: dean.li@hmbg.utah.edu


Summary.  Neural guidance cues are essential for a growing axon to correctly course through the body and innervate target tissues. Interestingly, the vascular network follows a parallel trajectory along nerves, suggesting that guidance cues important for neural patterning may also be required for proper vascular patterning. However, while an axon arises from one cell, a blood vessel is composed of many endothelial cells. Recent evidence suggests that neural repulsive cues are usurped by multi-cellular blood vessels to ensure vascular stabilization cues. Additional clues into the signaling mechanisms that promote vascular stabilization are emerging from cerebral cavernous malformations, a disease characterized by headache, epilepsy, and stroke. Thus, neurobiology and neurology are providing insights into the concepts of vascular stability.