Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

Reduced Mural Cell Coverage and Impaired Vessel Integrity After Angiogenic Stimulation in the Alk1-deficient Brain



Vessels in brain arteriovenous malformations are prone to rupture. The underlying pathogenesis is not clear. Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia type 2 patients with activin receptor-like kinase 1 (Alk1) mutation have a higher incidence of brain arteriovenous malformation than the general population. We tested the hypothesis that vascular endothelial growth factor impairs vascular integrity in the Alk1-deficient brain through reduction of mural cell coverage.

Methods and results

Adult Alk1(1f/2f) mice (loxP sites flanking exons 4-6) and wild-type mice were injected with 2×10(7) PFU adenovious-cre recombinase and 2×10(9) genome copies of adeno-associated virus-vascular endothelial growth factor to induce focal homozygous Alk1 deletion (in Alk1(1f/2f) mice) and angiogenesis. Brain vessels were analyzed 8 weeks later. Compared with wild-type mice, the Alk1-deficient brain had more fibrin (99±30×10(3) pixels/mm(2) versus 40±13×10(3); P=0.001), iron deposition (508±506 pixels/mm(2) versus 6±49; P=0.04), and Iba1(+) microglia/macrophage infiltration (888±420 Iba1(+) cells/mm(2) versus 240±104 Iba1(+); P=0.001) after vascular endothelial growth factor stimulation. In the angiogenic foci, the Alk1-deficient brain had more α-smooth muscle actin negative vessels (52±9% versus 12±7%, P<0.001), fewer vascular-associated pericytes (503±179/mm(2) versus 931±115, P<0.001), and reduced platelet-derived growth factor receptor-β expression.


Reduction of mural cell coverage in response to vascular endothelial growth factor stimulation is a potential mechanism for the impairment of vessel wall integrity in hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia type 2-associated brain arteriovenous malformation.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View