Confocal microscopic image of blood vessels in the postnatal mouse retina. Labelled are endothelial cells (red), astrocytes (green) and nuclei (blue).
© Ralf Adams

C.1: Angiogenic Blood Vessel Growth and Vessel Wall Assembly

Participants: Ralf Adams, Johannes Eble, Nicole Eter, Wiebke Herzog, Stefan Luschnig, Richard Stange, Britta Trappmann

In development, regeneration or in response to increased oxygen demand, the blood vessel network expands significantly by angiogenesis, a process that involves the sprouting, migration and proliferation of endothelial cells. While insufficient angiogenesis can seriously impair tissue development and repair, aberrant vascular growth can also be disease promoting in cancer or diabetic retinopathy. We will examine basic aspects of angiogenesis at the level of organisms, tissues, cells, signalling pathways and molecular complexes. Our research will make use of the wide repertoire of specific labelling and imaging strategies available in CiM combined with powerful genetic models (zebrafish and mouse) and pharmacological treatments. These techniques will be employed to monitor molecular signalling (e.g. by Notch and Eph/ephrin pathways) and dynamic interactions between endothelial cells, pericytes and the local tissue environment. The latter involves whole-body imaging techniques such as PET, FRI, MRI and CT, allowing the parallel assessment of angiogenic markers and vessel growth. The sum of our research will unravel fundamental mechanisms governing angiogenic growth in vivo such as the regulation of endothelial sprouting, tubulogenesis, the recruitment of perivascular cells, arterial-venous differentiation and organ-specific specialization.

Funded Projects

FF-2017-04 – A biomimetic platform mimicking the implantation niche of mouse embryos
Principal investigators: Ivan Bedzhov, Britta Trappmann
Project time: 11/2017 - 12/2018

FF-2017-21 – Analysis of the cytoskeleton in controlling endoglin-dependent endothelial cell shape changes in response to mechanical forces
Principal investigators: Arndt Siekmann, Britta Trappmann
Project time: 11/2017 - 12/2018

FF-2014-03 – In vivo intratumoral accumulation of cytotoxic drugs by tumor vascular infarction with retargeted tissue factor tTF-NGR
Principal investigators: Wolfgang Berdel, Carsten Höltke, Stefan Wagner, Bernhard Wünsch
Project time: 04/2014 - 03/2015
FF-2013-14 – Imaging of Vegfc protein in zebrafish using incorporation of unnatural amino acids
Principal investigator: Wiebke Herzog
Project time: 07/2013 - 06/2015