Intussusceptive angiogenesis is a morphogenetic process that forms new blood vessels by the division of a single blood vessel into two lumens. Here, we show that this process of intraluminal division participates in the inflammation-induced neovascularization associated with chemically induced murine colitis. In studies of both acute (4-7 days) and chronic (28-31 days) colitis, intravital microscopy of intravascular tracers demonstrated a twofold reduction in blood flow velocity. In the acute colitis model, the decreased velocity was associated with marked dilatation of the mucosal plexus. In contrast, chronic inflammation was associated with normal caliber vessels and duplication (and triplication) of the quasi-polygonal mucosal plexus. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of intravascular corrosion casts suggested that pillar formation and septation, previously linked to the morphogenetic process of intussusceptive angiogenesis, were present within days of the onset of inflammation. Four weeks after the onset of inflammation, SEM of vascular corrosion casts demonstrated replication of the mucosal plexus without significant evidence of sprouting angiogenesis. These data suggest that mucosal capillaries have comparable aggregate cross-sectional area in acute and chronic colitis; however, there is a significant increase in functional capillary density in chronic colitis. We conclude that intussusceptive angiogenesis is a fundamental mechanism of microvascular adaptation to prolonged inflammation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics