Dynamic, heterogeneous endothelial Tie2 expression and capillary blood flow during microvascular remodeling

Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 22;7(1):9049. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-08982-z.


Microvascular endothelial cell heterogeneity and its relationship to hemodynamics remains poorly understood due to a lack of sufficient methods to examine these parameters in vivo at high resolution throughout an angiogenic network. The availability of surrogate markers for functional vascular proteins, such as green fluorescent protein, enables expression in individual cells to be followed over time using confocal microscopy, while photoacoustic microscopy enables dynamic measurement of blood flow across the network with capillary-level resolution. We combined these two non-invasive imaging modalities in order to spatially and temporally analyze biochemical and biomechanical drivers of angiogenesis in murine corneal neovessels. By stimulating corneal angiogenesis with an alkali burn in Tie2-GFP fluorescent-reporter mice, we evaluated how onset of blood flow and surgically-altered blood flow affects Tie2-GFP expression. Our study establishes a novel platform for analyzing heterogeneous blood flow and fluorescent reporter protein expression across a dynamic microvascular network in an adult mammal.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Capillaries / physiology*
  • Corneal Neovascularization / genetics
  • Corneal Neovascularization / metabolism
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Hemodynamics
  • Mice
  • Microcirculation*
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Molecular Imaging
  • Receptor, TIE-2 / genetics*
  • Regional Blood Flow / genetics*
  • Vascular Remodeling / genetics*


  • Biomarkers
  • Receptor, TIE-2
  • Tek protein, mouse