Cellular and molecular mechanisms of coronary vessel development

Vasc Med. 2005 Feb;10(1):37-44. doi: 10.1191/1358863x05vm584ra.


Development of coronary vessels is a complex process in developmental biology and it may have clinical implications. Although coronary vessels develop as a form of vasculogenesis followed by angiogenesis, the cells of the entire coronary system do not arise from the developing heart. The key events of the coronary system formation include the generation of primordium and proepicardial organ; formation of epicardium; generation of subepicardial mesenchymal cells, and the formation, remodeling and maturation of the final vascular plexus. These events represent a complex regulation of the cell fate determination, cellular migration, epicardial/ mesenchymal transformation, and patterning of vasculatures. Recent studies suggest that several transcription factors, adhesion molecules, growth factors and signaling molecules play essential roles in these events. This article reviews the literature on the development of coronary vessels, and discusses current advances and controversies of molecular and cellular mechanisms, thereby directing future investigations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetyltransferases / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / physiology
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Coronary Vessels / embryology*
  • Coronary Vessels / growth & development
  • Coronary Vessels / physiology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / embryology
  • Histone Acetyltransferases
  • Humans
  • Integrin alpha4 / physiology
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / physiology
  • Pericardium / embryology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / physiology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ets
  • Transcription Factors / physiology
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / physiology
  • p300-CBP Transcription Factors


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ets
  • Transcription Factors
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Integrin alpha4
  • Acetyltransferases
  • Histone Acetyltransferases
  • p300-CBP Transcription Factors
  • p300-CBP-associated factor