Author(s): Mitchell TS, Bradley J, Robinson GS, Shima DT, Ng YS
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Abstract Pericytes play a key role in the process of vascular maturation and stabilization however, the current methods for quantifying pericyte coverage of the neovasculature are laborious and subjective in nature. In this study, we have developed an objective, sensitive, and high-throughput method for quantifying pericyte coverage of angiogenic vessels by analyzing the expression of the pericyte-specific gene, the regulator of G-protein signaling 5 (RGS5). We determined that RGS5 expression was up-regulated during a defined developmental time period in which nascent vessel sprouts acquired a pericyte covering. Furthermore, RGS5 expression was dramatically reduced in vessels with poor pericyte coverage compared to normal angiogenic vasculature. Finally, we determined that the susceptibility of nascent vessels to regression by vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibition was significantly reduced following RGS5 up-regulation, further implicating RGS5 in pericyte-endothelial cell interactions and the vascular maturation process. These studies establish the use of RGS5 gene expression as a quantitative and robust measure of pericyte coverage of neovasculature. This method provides a tool for vascular biologists studying pericyte-endothelial cell interactions and vascular maturation in both normal and pathological conditions, such as diabetic retinopathy and cancer.
This article was published in Angiogenesis
and referenced in Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy