Endothelial VEGF sculpts cortical cytoarchitecture

J Neurosci. 2013 Sep 11;33(37):14809-15. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1368-13.2013.


Current models of brain development support the view that VEGF, a signaling protein secreted by neuronal cells, regulates angiogenesis and neuronal development. Here we demonstrate an autonomous and pivotal role for endothelial cell-derived VEGF that has far-reaching consequences for mouse brain development. Selective deletion of Vegf from endothelial cells resulted in impaired angiogenesis and marked perturbation of cortical cytoarchitecture. Abnormal cell clusters or heterotopias were detected in the marginal zone, and disorganization of cortical cells induced several malformations, including aberrant cortical lamination. Critical events during brain development-neuronal proliferation, differentiation, and migration were significantly affected. In addition, axonal tracts in the telencephalon were severely defective in the absence of endothelial VEGF. The unique roles of endothelial VEGF cannot be compensated by neuronal VEGF and underscores the high functional significance of endothelial VEGF for cerebral cortex development and from disease perspectives.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Bromodeoxyuridine / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cerebral Cortex* / cytology
  • Cerebral Cortex* / embryology
  • Cerebral Cortex* / metabolism
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology*
  • Ki-67 Antigen / metabolism
  • Laminin / metabolism
  • Lectins / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / genetics
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism*


  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • Laminin
  • Lectins
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Mtap2 protein, mouse
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • vascular endothelial growth factor A, mouse
  • Bromodeoxyuridine