Doctor of Philosophy, Indiana State University (2012)
Master of Science, Ball State University (2009)
Bachelor of Arts, Hanover College (2007)
Mary Red-Horse, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Identifying coronary artery progenitors and their developmental pathways could inspire novel regenerative treatments for heart disease. Multiple sources of coronary vessels have been proposed, including the sinus venosus (SV), endocardium and proepicardium, but their relative contributions to the coronary circulation and the molecular mechanisms regulating their development are poorly understood. We created an ApjCreER mouse line as a lineage-tracing tool to map SV-derived vessels onto the heart and compared the resulting lineage pattern with endocardial and proepicardial contributions to the coronary circulation. The data showed a striking compartmentalization to coronary development. ApjCreER-traced vessels contributed to a large number of arteries, capillaries and veins on the dorsal and lateral sides of the heart. By contrast, untraced vessels predominated in the midline of the ventral aspect and ventricular septum, which are vessel populations primarily derived from the endocardium. The proepicardium gave rise to a smaller fraction of vessels spaced relatively uniformly throughout the ventricular walls. Dorsal (SV-derived) and ventral (endocardial-derived) coronary vessels developed in response to different growth signals. The absence of VEGFC, which is expressed in the epicardium, dramatically inhibited dorsal and lateral coronary growth but left vessels on the ventral side unaffected. We propose that complementary SV-derived and endocardial-derived migratory routes unite to form the coronary vasculature and that the former requires VEGFC, revealing its role as a tissue-specific mediator of blood endothelial development.
View details for DOI 10.1242/dev.113639
View details for PubMedID 25377552
A series of overexpression studies have shown that lumican suppresses angiogenesis in tumors produced from pancreatic adenocarcinoma, fibrosarcoma, and melanoma tumor cells. Despite lumican's anti-angiogenic activity, a clear correlation of differential expression of lumican in various cancers and cancer malignancy has failed to emerge. Therefore, we hypothesized that either 1.) endogenously expressed lumican is not anti-angiogenic or alternatively that 2.) lumican exhibits angiostatic activity only in limited microenvironments. Previously, lumican was shown to suppress tumor growth and angiogenesis in subcutaneously injected PanO2 pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells. Therefore, to determine if endogenously expressed lumican is anti-angiogenic we subcutaneously injected PanO2 cells into wild-type and lumican knockout mice and compared tumor growth and vascular densities of the resulting tumors. We found that tumors grown in lumican knockout animals were larger and contained significantly elevated vascular densities compared to those grown in wild-type mice. Interestingly however lumican knockout animals did not exhibit enhanced angiogenesis in aortic ring assays, matrigel plugs, or healing wound biopsies raising the possibility that lumican suppresses angiogenesis only in tumor microenvironments. To test this possibility, we sought a tumor model wherein lumican did not exhibit anti-angiogenic activity. Utilizing the 4T1 breast cancer model, we found that lumican suppressed 4T1 tumor growth and lung metastasis, but not angiogenesis. In conclusion, these results show that the angiostatic activity of lumican is dependent on currently undefined microenvironmental cues and therefore helps to understand why differential expression of lumican does not consistently correlate with human tumor malignancy.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s12307-013-0134-2
View details for PubMedID 23775523
Matrix Gla Protein (MGP) is an ECM molecule commonly associated with dysfunctions of large blood vessels such as arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis. However, the exact role of MGP in the microvasculature is not clear. Utilizing a mouse MGP knockout model we found that MGP suppresses angiogenic sprouting from mouse aorta restricts microvascular density in cardiac and skeletal muscle, and is an endogenous inhibitor of tumor angiogenesis. Similarly, morpholino based knockdown of MGP in zebrafish embryos caused a progressive loss of luminal structures in intersegmental vessels, a phenotype reminiscent of Dll4/Notch inhibition. Accordingly, MGP suppressed Notch-dependent Hes-1 promoter activity and expression of Jagged1 mRNA relative to Dll4 mRNA. However, inhibition of BMP but not Notch or VEGF signaling reversed the excessive angiogenic sprouting phenotype of MGP knockout aortic rings suggesting that MGP may normally suppress angiogenic sprouting by blocking BMP signaling. Collectively, these results suggest that MGP is a multi-functional inhibitor of normal and abnormal angiogenesis that may function by coordinating with both Notch and BMP signaling pathways.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.mvr.2012.10.005
View details for Web of Science ID 000314318800004
View details for PubMedID 23110920