The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 55: 399 - 405 (2011)

Vol 55, Issue 4-5

Special Issue: Angiogenesis in Development & Cancer

Modeling of angioadaptation: insights for vascular development

Review | Published: 21 July 2011

Axel R. Pries*,1,2, Bettina Reglin1 and Timothy W. Secomb3

1Dept. of Physiology and CCR, Charité, Berlin, 2Deutsches Herzzentrum Berlin, Berlin, Germany and 3Dept. of Physiology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA


Vascular beds are generated by vasculogenesis and sprouting angiogenesis, and these processes have strong stochastic components. As a result, vascular patterns exhibit significant heterogeneity with respect to the topological arrangement of the individual vessel segments and the characteristics (length, number of segments) of different arterio-venous pathways. This structural heterogeneity tends to cause heterogeneous distributions of flow and oxygen availability in tissue. However, these quantities must be maintained within tolerable ranges to allow normal tissue function. This is achieved largely through adjustment of vascular flow resistance by control of vessel diameters. While short-term diameter control by changes in vascular tone in arterioles and small arteries plays an important role, in the long term an even more important role is played by structural adaptation (angioadaptation), occurring in response to metabolic and hemodynamic signals. The effectiveness, stability and robustness of this angioadaptation depend sensitively on the nature and strength of the vascular responses involved and their interactions with the network structure. Mathematical models are helpful in understanding these complex interactions, and can be used to simulate the consequences of failures in sensing or signal transmission mechanisms. For the tumor microcirculation, this strategy of combining experimental observations with theoretical models, has led to the hypothesis that dysfunctional information transport via vascular connexins is a major cause of the observed vascular pathology and increased heterogeneity in oxygen distribution.


microvascular networks, heterogeneity, tumor, angiogenesis

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