Vascular development requires the assembly of precursor cells into blood vessels, but how embryonic vessels are assembled is not well understood. To determine how vascular cells migrate and assemble into vessels of the trunk and limb, marked somite-derived angioblasts were followed in developing embryos. Injection of avian somites with the cell-tracker DiI showed that somite-derived angioblasts in unperturbed embryos migrated extensively and contributed to trunk and limb vessels. Mouse-avian chimeras with mouse presomitic mesoderm grafts had graft-derived endothelial cells in blood vessels at significant distances from the graft, indicating that mouse angioblasts migrated extensively in avian hosts. Mouse graft-derived endothelial cells were consistently found in trunk vessels, such as the perineural vascular plexus, the cardinal vein, and presumptive intersomitic vessels, as well as in vessels of the limb and kidney rudiment. This reproducible pattern of graft colonization suggests that avian vascular patterning cues for trunk and limb vessels are recognized by mammalian somitic angioblasts. Mouse-quail chimeras stained with both the quail vascular marker QH1 and the mouse vascular marker PECAM-1 had finely chimeric vessels, with graft-derived mouse cells interdigitated with quail vascular cells in most vascular beds colonized by graft cells. Thus, diverse trunk and limb blood vessels have endothelial cells that developed from migratory somitic angioblasts, and assembly of these vessels is likely to have a large vasculogenic component.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.