This is SCIENCE, and it is cool.
The key to blood vessel growth is balance: too much, or not enough, of any one signaling molecule can have disastrous consequences. Embryos can fail to develop. Vessels can burst, clog, and leak. Vessels can also respond a little too vigorously to a tissue’s plea for more resources, growing in a messy disarray of dead-end tubes that blood can’t flow through.
While papers on blood vessels date back more than 150 years, we continue to have new insights into their biology. We learned about the cells that make up the vessels: endothelial cells, which form the actual tube itself, and perivascular cells, which sit just next to the endothelial cells. Capitalizing on this, we started growing “vessels” in dishes, which lets us study how blood vessels respond to signals in their environment. We discovered small, secreted molecules in living things that encourage new blood vessel growth. We developed ways to…
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