While at first glance it may appear that the blood vessels throughout the body have similar properties and functions, on closer examination vessels that comprise diverse vascular beds may arise from distinct origins and have unique potential and pathology. We investigate, from a developmental perspective, what makes arterial endothelial subsets unique, and whether these properties predict their form, function, and propensity for disease.
Through use of developmental models and lineage tracing strategies, we can begin to dissect the differential origins of arterial vascular endothelium. In addition, investigation of signaling pathways integral to arterial identity (the Notch pathway) and arterial function (integrins and cell polarity mediators) may identify mechanisms of arterial sub-specification. Whether the unique properties of arterial subsets are irrevocable due to patterning, or alternatively are fluid and plastic, remains to be seen. The latter allows for therapeutic applications, such as HSC emergence from endothelium in vitro, or reversal of pathology within vascular subsets in vivo.