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The survival of ischaemic cardiomyocytes after myocardial infarction (MI) depends on the formation of new blood vessels. However, endogenous neovascularization is inefficient and the regulatory pathways directing coronary vessel growth are not well understood. Here we describe three independent regulatory pathways active in coronary vessels during development through analysis of the expression patterns of differentially regulated endothelial enhancers in the heart. The angiogenic VEGFA-MEF2 regulatory pathway is predominantly active in endocardial-derived vessels, whilst SOXF/RBPJ and BMP-SMAD pathways are seen in sinus venosus-derived arterial and venous coronaries, respectively. Although all developmental pathways contribute to post-MI vessel growth in the neonate, none are active during neovascularization after MI in adult hearts. This was particularly notable for the angiogenic VEGFA-MEF2 pathway, otherwise active in adult hearts and during neoangiogenesis in other adult settings. Our results therefore demonstrate a fundamental divergence between the regulation of coronary vessel growth in healthy and ischemic adult hearts.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Commun

Publication Date





Animals, Animals, Newborn, Coronary Vessels, Heart, Humans, MEF2 Transcription Factors, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Inbred CBA, Mice, Knockout, Mice, Transgenic, Myocardial Infarction, Myocardial Ischemia, Myocytes, Cardiac, Signal Transduction, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A