When pulmonary arterial blood flow is obstructed in all mammals studied, there is a compensatory growth of the bronchial vasculature. This angiogenesis normally occurs through a proliferation of the systemic circulation to the intraparenchymal airways. It is an important pathophysiological process, not only in pulmonary vascular disease, but also in lung cancer, because the blood flow that supplies primary lung tumors arises from the systemic circulation. In the mouse, however, the systemic blood vessels that supply the trachea and mainstem bronchi do not penetrate into the intraparenchymal airways, as they do in all other larger species. In this study, we attempted to generate a new functional bronchial circulation in the mouse by permanently obstructing 40% of the pulmonary circulation. We quantified the systemic blood flow to the lung with fluorescent microspheres for 3 months after left pulmonary artery ligation. Results demonstrated that a substantial systemic blood flow to the lung that can eventually supply up to 15% of the normal pulmonary flow can be generated beginning 5-6 days after ligation. These new angiogenic vessels do not arise from the extraparenchymal bronchial circulation. Rather they enter the lung directly via a totally new vasculature that develops between the visceral and parietal pleuras, supplied by several intercostal arteries. This unique model of angiogenesis occurs in the absence of any hypoxic stimulus and mimics the vascular source of many lung tumors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine