Feature: ATTRACT, Arterial Flow as Attractor for Endothelial Cell Migration, Leducq Network 17CVD03
Leducq ATTRACT Consortium: Holger Gerhardt, Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC), Berlin, Germany; Douglas A. Marchuk, Duke University, Durham, NC; Claudio A. Franco, Instituto de Medicina Molecular, Lisbon, Portugal; Anne Eichmann, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT; Lena Claesson-Welsh, Uppsala University, Sweden; Miguel O. Bernabeu, The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom; and Paul S. Oh, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, AZ.
The Scientific Concept of Flow-Migration Coupling The vasculature in a human adult has been estimated to have a total mass of roughly 1 kg and the total length of blood vessels would reach 2 or more times around the globe. If we were given the task to build such a system from scratch by arranging the correct number of endothelial cells, with the right shape and connectivity in a manner that will build just the right density of capillaries to match the nutritional demand of individual organs, while providing the adequate branching pattern of larger arteries, arterioles, capillaries, and draining venules and veins, we would face a puzzle of gigantic proportions. How the myriad of endothelial cells in our bodies self-organize to control the shape and size of all vessels is one of the biggest mysteries in vascular biology. Even more strikingly, the vasculature remains adaptable and compliant to meet changing nutritional demands, accommodate for tissue growth and repair, and control hemodynamic fluctuations to maintain tissue homeostasis. It is this phenomenal homeostatic adaptability of the vasculature and its relevance for both health and disease that forms the backdrop and motivation to our Leducq Network ATTRACT.