Clarification of mural cell coverage of vascular endothelial cells by live imaging of zebrafish

K. Ando, S. Fukuhara, N. Izumi, H. Nakajima, H. Fukui, R. N. Kelsh, N. Mochizuki

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Mural cells (MCs) consisting of vascular smooth muscle cells and pericytes cover the endothelial cells (ECs) to regulate vascular stability and homeostasis. Here, we clarified the mechanism how MCs develop and cover ECs by generating the transgenic zebrafish lines that allow live imaging of MCs and by lineage tracing in vivo. To cover cranial vessels, MCs derived from either neural crest cells or mesoderm emerged around the preformed EC tubes, proliferated and migrated along EC tubes. During their migration, the MCs moved forward by extending their processes along the inter-EC junctions, suggesting the role of inter-EC junctions as a scaffold for MC migration. In the trunk vasculature, MCs derived from mesoderm covered the ventral side of the dorsal aorta (DA), but not the posterior cardinal vein. Furthermore, the MCs migrating from the DA or emerging around intersegmental vessels (ISV) preferentially covered arterial ISVs rather than venous ISVs, indicating that MCs mostly cover arteries during vascular development. Thus, live imaging and lineage tracing enabled us to precisely clarify how MCs cover the EC tubes and to identify the origins of MCs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1328-1339
Number of pages12
Issue number8
Early online date7 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2016


  • Mural cells
  • Pericytes
  • Vascular smooth muscle cells
  • Zebrafish
  • Pdgfrb


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