Flow dynamics control the location of sprouting and direct elongation during developmental angiogenesis

Siavash Ghaffari, Richard L Leask, Elizabeth A V Jones*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Angiogenesis is tightly controlled by a number of signalling pathways. Although our understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in angiogenesis has rapidly increased, the role that biomechanical signals play in this process is understudied. We recently developed a technique to simultaneously analyse flow dynamics and vascular remodelling by time-lapse microscopy in the capillary plexus of avian embryos and used this to study the hemodynamic environment present during angiogenic sprouting. We found that sprouts always form from a vessel at lower pressure towards a vessel at higher pressure, and that sprouts form at the location of a shear stress minimum, but avoid locations where two blood streams merge even if this point is at a lower level of shear stress than the sprouting location. Using these parameters, we were able to successfully predict sprout location in quail embryos. We also found that the pressure difference between two vessels is permissive to elongation, and that sprouts will either change direction or regress if the pressure difference becomes negative. Furthermore, the sprout elongation rate is proportional to the pressure difference between the two vessels. Our results show that flow dynamics are predictive of the location of sprout formation in perfused vascular networks and that pressure differences across the interstitium can guide sprout elongation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4151-7
Number of pages7
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Endothelial Cells/cytology
  • Hemodynamics
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Morphogenesis
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic/physiology
  • Pressure
  • Quail/embryology
  • Shear Strength
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Time-Lapse Imaging

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