Editors' ChoiceAngiogenesis

Plumbing in the Brain

Sci. Signal.  16 Nov 2010:
Vol. 3, Issue 148, pp. ec351
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.3148ec351

Superficial similarities of vasculature in different parts of the body may mask organ-specific developmental nuances. The vasculature of the brain uniquely has to insulate the organ from insults that the rest of the body must tolerate. Kuhnert et al. analyzed the developmental uniqueness of the brain’s vasculature through study of a G protein–coupled receptor, GPR124, initially identified by its actions in the vasculature of colon cancer. GPR124 is also involved in normal development of the brain's vasculature. Mice expressing low levels of GPR124 did not develop adequate vasculature in the brain and died from hemorrhages. Mice with too much GPR124 developed a tangled, thin-walled, excessive vasculature in the brain. Although the overexpressing mice survived, they were prone to neurological symptoms such as ataxia. GPR124 seems to control the normal development of the endothelial cells, particularly in the forebrain and ventral neural tube.

F. Kuhnert, M. R. Mancuso, A. Shamloo, H.-T. Wang, V. Choksi, M. Florek, H. Su, M. Fruttiger, W. L. Young, S. C. Heilshorn, C. J. Kuo, Essential regulation of CNS angiogenesis by the orphan G protein–coupled receptor GPR124. Science 330, 985–989 (2010). [Abstract] [Full Text]