Background: Perturbations to embryonic hemodynamics are known to adversely affect cardiovascular development. Vitelline vein ligation (VVL) is a model of reduced placental blood flow used to induce cardiac defects in early chick embryo development. The effect of these hemodynamic interventions on maturing elastic arteries is largely unknown. We hypothesize that hemodynamic changes impact maturation of the dorsal aorta (DA). Results: We examined the effects of VVL on hemodynamic properties well into the maturation process and the corresponding changes in aortic dimensions, wall composition, and gene expression. In chick embryos, we found that DA blood velocity was reduced immediately postsurgery at Hamburger-Hamilton (HH) stage 18 and later at HH36, but not in the interim. Throughout this period, DA diameter adapted to maintain a constant shear stress. At HH36, we found that VVL DAs showed a substantial decrease in elastin and a modest increase in collagen protein content. In VVL DAs, up-regulation of elastic fiber–related genes followed the down-regulation of flow-dependent genes. Together, these suggest the existence of a compensatory mechanism in response to shear-induced delays in maturation. Conclusions: The DA's response to hemodynamic perturbations invokes coupled mechanisms for shear regulation and matrix maturation, potentially impacting the course of vascular development. Developmental Dynamics 247:914–923, 2018.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)914-923
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Dynamics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2018


  • dorsal aorta
  • elastin
  • hemodynamics
  • shear stress


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