Endothelial cells (ECs) play a critical role in regulating vascular pathophysiology. Various growth factors and relaxation factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and nitric oxide (NO), which are derived from ECs, are known to maintain homeostasis and regulate vessel remodeling. Although the inner lumens of all types of vessels are covered by an EC monolayer, the characteristics of ECs differ in each tissue and developing stage of a vessel. Previously, we identified the heterogeneity of ECs of the ductus arteriosus (DA) by analyzing its gene profiles. The DA is a fetal artery that closes immediately after birth due to the changes in concentrations of oxygen and vasoactive factors such as NO and prostaglandin E. Studying the unique gene profile of ECs in the DA can therefore uncover the novel key genes involved in developing vascular function and morphology such as O2 sensitivity and physiological vascular remodeling. A comprehensive gene analysis identified a number of genes related to morphogenesis and development in the DA. In this chapter, we discuss the heterogeneity of vascular ECs in the developing vessel in the DA.
Part of the book: Physiologic and Pathologic Angiogenesis