In vivo vascularization of implanted (bio)artificial constructs is essential for their proper function. Vascularization may rely on sprouting angiogenesis, vascular incorporation of bone marrow-derived endothelial cells (BMDECs), or both. Here we investigated the relative contribution of these 2 mechanisms to neovascularization in a mouse model of a foreign body reaction (FBR) to subcutaneously implanted Dacron and in hind limb ischemia (HLI) in relation to the molecular microenvironment at these neovascularization sites.
Neovascularization was studied in C57B1/6 mice reconstituted with enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) transgenic bone marrow. Sprouting angiogenesis, detected using nuclear incorporation of bromodeoxyuridine in endothelial cells was present in both models, whereas vascular incorporation of EGFP(+) BMDECs was restricted to HLI. In HLI, the presence of a pro-angiogenic molecular microenvironment comprising vascular endothelial growth factor, fibroblast growth factor 2, and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor corroborated the importance of these factors for vascular BMDEC incorporation, whereas this microenvironment was absent in FBR. Enhanced mobilization of BMDECs by granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor administration or by combining HLI and FBR with Dacron did not induce incorporation of BMDECs in FBR neovessels.
We conclude that the efficacy of BMDEC-based therapy is not generally warranted, but it depends on the molecular microenvironment in the targeted tissue.