Retinal myeloid cells regulate tip cell selection and vascular branching morphogenesis via Notch ligand Delta-like 1

Haupt, Fabian; Krishnasamy, Kashyap; Napp, L. Christian; Augustynik, Michael; Limbourg, Anne; Gamrekelashvili, Jaba; Bauersachs, Johann; Haller, Hermann; Limbourg, Florian P. (2019). Retinal myeloid cells regulate tip cell selection and vascular branching morphogenesis via Notch ligand Delta-like 1. Scientific Reports, 9(1), p. 9798. Nature Publishing Group 10.1038/s41598-019-46308-3

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During angiogenesis, single endothelial cells (EC) specialize into tip cells that guide vessel sprouting towards growth factor gradients and instruct the adjacent vessel stalk. The balance between tip and stalk cells is regulated by endothelial Notch signalling through the expression of Notch ligand Delta-like 4 (Dll4) in tip cells, which suppresses a tip cell fate in adjacent stalk cells. Here we show, using genetic reporter and conditional deletion strategies, that myeloid cells regulate tip cell numbers and Dll4 expression via the Notch ligand Dll1 during vascular development in the retina. Dll1 is selectively expressed by a subpopulation of retinal myeloid cells, which progressively localizes to the sprouting vascular network. Conditional, myeloid-specific deletion of Dll1 impairs endothelial Dll4 tip-stalk gradient resulting in an increase of endothelial tip cells and EC filopodia, accompanied by an increase in vascular density and branching. In vitro, co-culture of human EC with monocyte-derived macrophages induced Dll1 upregulation in macrophages and Dll4 upregulation and an endothelial tip cell signature in EC. Furthermore, culturing human EC on recombinant DLL1 induced endothelial Dll4 expression and a tip cell program, indicating that changes are Dll1-dependent. Thus, myeloid cells regulate tip cell fate and angiogenesis through expression of Notch ligand Dll1.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Clinic of Nuclear Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Haupt, Fabian


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Nature Publishing Group




Sabine Lanz

Date Deposited:

07 Aug 2019 10:04

Last Modified:

22 Oct 2019 18:37

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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