Vascular Development

Domenico Ribatti, Enrico Crivellato

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Blood vessels represent an essential component of all organs. The vascular tree develops early during embryogenesis and progresses into a highly branched system of vascular channels lined by endothelial cells (ECs) and surrounded by mural cells. A highly hierarchical vascular architecture is established which comprises distinct arterial, capillary and venous segments as well as organ- and tissue-specific vascular beds. Several factors are involved in these processes, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), platelet derived growth factor (PDGF), transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β), angiopoietins, (Ang) and ephrins (Efn). EC structural and molecular heterogeneity plays a crucial role in patterning the distinct segments of the blood vessel architecture. It is possible that EC heterogeneity has a role in directing disease processes to distinct vascular territories. Vice versa, vascular inflammatory disease may have different downstream consequences for EC function in different territories. Defining the molecular basis for the targeting of systemic vasculitides, thrombotic or haemorrhagic conditions, sepsis reactions, and metabolic vascular diseases is subject to ongoing research. Much progress has been made in understanding the molecular pathways that regulate fate decisions of precursor cells to develop into arterial or venous EC. Identification of vascular-bed specific structural and molecular profiles will contribute to a better definition of the complexity of the angioarchitecture. Characterization of the molecules involved in creating vascular heterogeneity might eventually allow refinement of diagnostic and therapeutic strategies aimed at targeting distinct segments of the vascular tree.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInflammatory Diseases of Blood Vessels: Second Edition
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781444338225
Publication statusPublished - May 3 2012


  • Endothelial cells
  • Vascular diseases
  • Vascular heterogeneity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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