Regression of vessels in the tunica vasculosa lentis is initiated by coordinated endothelial apoptosis: A role for vascular endothelial growth factor as a survival factor for endothelium

Christopher Mitchell, W Risau, HCA Drexler

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Abstract

The development of the embryonic lens is dependent on the formation and regression of the tunica vasculosa lentis (TVL), which is a transiently occurring capillary plexus that surrounds the posterior part of the lens. In this study by using the terminal deoxy-nucleotidyl transferase mediated nick end-labelling technique (TUNEL), electron microscopy, radioactive end-labelling of DNA extracted from TVL, and the Comet assay, we show that widespread apoptosis of the endothelial cells that constitute the TVL is occurring already at embryonic day 17.5 (E17.5) of mouse development, much earlier than was reported previously (Jack [1972a] Am. J. Ophthalmol. 74:261-272; Lang [1997] Cell Death Diff. 4:12-20). In addition to apoptotic cell death, regression of this structure is associated with loss of capillary integrity, leakage of erythrocytes into the vitreal compartment, and phagocytosis of the apoptotic endothelium by tissue macrophages (hyalocytes). In situ hybridization experiments with probes for the flk-1 receptor and its high-affinity ligand, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF; Terman et al. [1992] Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 187:1579-1586; Millauer et al. [1993] Cell 72:835-846), revealed strong endothelial cell expression for flk-1 in the eyes of E13.5-E17.5 embryos. VEGF mRNA was detected in lens epithelial cells located at the posterior pole of the developing lens in E13.5 embryos, in close proximity to the TVL capillaries. At later times (E14.5-E17.5), when the lens epithelial cells have differentiated into primary lens fiber cells, and a thick lenticular capsule is formed, the expression of VEGF mRNA becomes restricted to the anterior and equatorial portions of the lens. The physical separation of the VEGF-producing cells from the flk-1-expressing endothelium (due to the differentiation of the lens epithelial cells into lens fiber cells and the formation of the lenticular capsule) may deprive the endothelium of an essential survival factor and, thus, may constitute the primary mechanism that is responsible for the induction of endothelial cell apoptosis in this model. Dev. Dyn. 1998;213:322-333. (C) 1998 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
LanguageEnglish
Pages322-333
JournalDevelopmental Dynamics
Volume213
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1998

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Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
Lenses
Endothelium
Apoptosis
Endothelial Cells
Epithelial Cells
Capsules
Cell Death
Embryonic Structures
Messenger RNA
Comet Assay
In Situ Nick-End Labeling
Transferases
Phagocytosis
Embryonic Development
In Situ Hybridization
Electron Microscopy
Erythrocytes
Macrophages
Ligands

Cite this

@article{4d3f52706293448ea3c4c38d835310e4,
title = "Regression of vessels in the tunica vasculosa lentis is initiated by coordinated endothelial apoptosis: A role for vascular endothelial growth factor as a survival factor for endothelium",
abstract = "The development of the embryonic lens is dependent on the formation and regression of the tunica vasculosa lentis (TVL), which is a transiently occurring capillary plexus that surrounds the posterior part of the lens. In this study by using the terminal deoxy-nucleotidyl transferase mediated nick end-labelling technique (TUNEL), electron microscopy, radioactive end-labelling of DNA extracted from TVL, and the Comet assay, we show that widespread apoptosis of the endothelial cells that constitute the TVL is occurring already at embryonic day 17.5 (E17.5) of mouse development, much earlier than was reported previously (Jack [1972a] Am. J. Ophthalmol. 74:261-272; Lang [1997] Cell Death Diff. 4:12-20). In addition to apoptotic cell death, regression of this structure is associated with loss of capillary integrity, leakage of erythrocytes into the vitreal compartment, and phagocytosis of the apoptotic endothelium by tissue macrophages (hyalocytes). In situ hybridization experiments with probes for the flk-1 receptor and its high-affinity ligand, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF; Terman et al. [1992] Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 187:1579-1586; Millauer et al. [1993] Cell 72:835-846), revealed strong endothelial cell expression for flk-1 in the eyes of E13.5-E17.5 embryos. VEGF mRNA was detected in lens epithelial cells located at the posterior pole of the developing lens in E13.5 embryos, in close proximity to the TVL capillaries. At later times (E14.5-E17.5), when the lens epithelial cells have differentiated into primary lens fiber cells, and a thick lenticular capsule is formed, the expression of VEGF mRNA becomes restricted to the anterior and equatorial portions of the lens. The physical separation of the VEGF-producing cells from the flk-1-expressing endothelium (due to the differentiation of the lens epithelial cells into lens fiber cells and the formation of the lenticular capsule) may deprive the endothelium of an essential survival factor and, thus, may constitute the primary mechanism that is responsible for the induction of endothelial cell apoptosis in this model. Dev. Dyn. 1998;213:322-333. (C) 1998 Wiley-Liss, Inc.",
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AU - Mitchell, Christopher

AU - Risau, W

AU - Drexler, HCA

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N2 - The development of the embryonic lens is dependent on the formation and regression of the tunica vasculosa lentis (TVL), which is a transiently occurring capillary plexus that surrounds the posterior part of the lens. In this study by using the terminal deoxy-nucleotidyl transferase mediated nick end-labelling technique (TUNEL), electron microscopy, radioactive end-labelling of DNA extracted from TVL, and the Comet assay, we show that widespread apoptosis of the endothelial cells that constitute the TVL is occurring already at embryonic day 17.5 (E17.5) of mouse development, much earlier than was reported previously (Jack [1972a] Am. J. Ophthalmol. 74:261-272; Lang [1997] Cell Death Diff. 4:12-20). In addition to apoptotic cell death, regression of this structure is associated with loss of capillary integrity, leakage of erythrocytes into the vitreal compartment, and phagocytosis of the apoptotic endothelium by tissue macrophages (hyalocytes). In situ hybridization experiments with probes for the flk-1 receptor and its high-affinity ligand, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF; Terman et al. [1992] Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 187:1579-1586; Millauer et al. [1993] Cell 72:835-846), revealed strong endothelial cell expression for flk-1 in the eyes of E13.5-E17.5 embryos. VEGF mRNA was detected in lens epithelial cells located at the posterior pole of the developing lens in E13.5 embryos, in close proximity to the TVL capillaries. At later times (E14.5-E17.5), when the lens epithelial cells have differentiated into primary lens fiber cells, and a thick lenticular capsule is formed, the expression of VEGF mRNA becomes restricted to the anterior and equatorial portions of the lens. The physical separation of the VEGF-producing cells from the flk-1-expressing endothelium (due to the differentiation of the lens epithelial cells into lens fiber cells and the formation of the lenticular capsule) may deprive the endothelium of an essential survival factor and, thus, may constitute the primary mechanism that is responsible for the induction of endothelial cell apoptosis in this model. Dev. Dyn. 1998;213:322-333. (C) 1998 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

AB - The development of the embryonic lens is dependent on the formation and regression of the tunica vasculosa lentis (TVL), which is a transiently occurring capillary plexus that surrounds the posterior part of the lens. In this study by using the terminal deoxy-nucleotidyl transferase mediated nick end-labelling technique (TUNEL), electron microscopy, radioactive end-labelling of DNA extracted from TVL, and the Comet assay, we show that widespread apoptosis of the endothelial cells that constitute the TVL is occurring already at embryonic day 17.5 (E17.5) of mouse development, much earlier than was reported previously (Jack [1972a] Am. J. Ophthalmol. 74:261-272; Lang [1997] Cell Death Diff. 4:12-20). In addition to apoptotic cell death, regression of this structure is associated with loss of capillary integrity, leakage of erythrocytes into the vitreal compartment, and phagocytosis of the apoptotic endothelium by tissue macrophages (hyalocytes). In situ hybridization experiments with probes for the flk-1 receptor and its high-affinity ligand, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF; Terman et al. [1992] Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 187:1579-1586; Millauer et al. [1993] Cell 72:835-846), revealed strong endothelial cell expression for flk-1 in the eyes of E13.5-E17.5 embryos. VEGF mRNA was detected in lens epithelial cells located at the posterior pole of the developing lens in E13.5 embryos, in close proximity to the TVL capillaries. At later times (E14.5-E17.5), when the lens epithelial cells have differentiated into primary lens fiber cells, and a thick lenticular capsule is formed, the expression of VEGF mRNA becomes restricted to the anterior and equatorial portions of the lens. The physical separation of the VEGF-producing cells from the flk-1-expressing endothelium (due to the differentiation of the lens epithelial cells into lens fiber cells and the formation of the lenticular capsule) may deprive the endothelium of an essential survival factor and, thus, may constitute the primary mechanism that is responsible for the induction of endothelial cell apoptosis in this model. Dev. Dyn. 1998;213:322-333. (C) 1998 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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