Chronic whole-body hypoxia induces intussusceptive angiogenesis and microvascular remodeling in the mouse retina

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Abstract

Currently, little is known about the response of the adult retinal microvasculature to hypoxia. To test the hypothesis that chronic systemic hypoxia induces angiogenesis and microvascular remodeling in the adult mouse retina, adult 10-week old female C57Bl/6 mice were exposed to 10% O2 for 2 or 3 weeks. After hypoxia exposure, retinas were harvested, whole-mounted, and processed for immunohistochemistry. Retinas were stained with lectin, anti-smooth muscle α-actin antibody, and anti-NG2 antibody to visualize microvascular networks and their cellular components. Confocal microscopy was used to obtain images of superficial retinal networks. Images were analyzed to assess vessel diameter, vascular length density, branch point density, and the presence of vascular loops, a hallmark of intussusceptive angiogenesis. Both 2 and 3 weeks of hypoxia exposure resulted in a significant increase in the diameters of arterioles and post-arteriole capillaries (p < 0.003). After 3 weeks of hypoxia, vascular length density and branch point density were significantly increased in retinas exposed to hypoxia as compared to normoxic controls (p < 0.001). The number of vascular loops in the superficial retinal networks was significantly greater in hypoxia-exposed retinas (p ≤ 0.001). Our results demonstrate, for the first time, intussusceptive angiogenesis as a tissue-level mechanism of vascular adaptation to chronic systemic hypoxia in the adult mouse retina and contribute to our understanding of hypoxia-induced angiogenesis and microvascular remodeling in the adult animal. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Taylor, A. C., Seltz, L. M., Yates, P. A., & Peirce, S. M. (2010). Chronic whole-body hypoxia induces intussusceptive angiogenesis and microvascular remodeling in the mouse retina. Microvascular Research, 79(2), 93–101. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mvr.2010.01.006

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