Coronary vessel development and insight towards neovascular therapy.
Smart N., Dubé KN., Riley PR.
Formation of the coronary arteries consists of a precisely orchestrated series of morphogenetic and molecular events which can be divided into three distinct processes: vasculogenesis, angiogenesis and arteriogenesis (Risau 1997; Carmeliet 2000). Even subtle perturbations in this process may lead to congenital coronary artery anomalies, as occur in 0.2-1.2% of the general population (von Kodolitsch et al. 2004). Contrary to the previously held dogma, the process of vasculogenesis is not limited to prenatal development. Both vasculogenesis and angiogenesis are now known to actively occur within the adult heart. When the need for regeneration arises, for example in the setting of coronary artery disease, a reactivation of embryonic processes ensues, redeploying many of the same molecular regulators. Thus, an understanding of the mechanisms of embryonic coronary vasculogenesis and angiogenesis may prove invaluable in developing novel strategies for cardiovascular regeneration and therapeutic coronary angiogenesis.