Wiring the vascular network with neural cues: a CNS perspective


  • T. Waächli
  • A. Wacker
  • K. Frei
  • L. Regli
  • M.E. Schwab
  • S.P. Hoerstrup
  • H. Gerhardt
  • B. Engelhardt


  • Neuron


  • Neuron 87 (2): 271-296


  • The vascular and the nervous system are responsible for oxygen, nutrient, and information transfer and thereby constitute highly important communication systems in higher organisms. These functional similarities are reflected at the anatomical, cellular, and molecular levels, where common developmental principles and mutual crosstalks have evolved to coordinate their action. This resemblance of the two systems at different levels of complexity has been termed the "neurovascular link." Most of the evidence demonstrating neurovascular interactions derives from studies outside the CNS and from the CNS tissue of the retina. However, little is known about the specific properties of the neurovascular link in the brain. Here, we focus on regulatory effects of molecules involved in the neurovascular link on angiogenesis in the periphery and in the brain and distinguish between general and CNS-specific cues for angiogenesis. Moreover, we discuss the emerging molecular interactions of these angiogenic cues with the VEGF-VEGFR-Delta-like ligand 4 (Dll4)-Jagged-Notch pathway.