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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

CD40 and CD40L expression in the chicken embryo aorta: possible role in the endothelial-mesenchymal transdifferentiation process.

Endothelial-mesenchymal transdifferentiation (EMT) is believed to play a crucial role in embryonic vascular development and intimal thickening, which contributes to the pathogenesis of atherosclerotic lesions. However, the mechanisms by which it occurs, as well as the signals that control it, have not yet been elucidated. Given the important role played by the CD40-CD40 ligand (CD40L) system during the initiation and progress of atherosclerosis, we investigated whether both CD40 and CD40L were present in the aortic wall during EMT and the advanced stages of chicken embryo development. CD40-CD40L expression was found on endothelial cells (ECs), mesenchymal cells, and smooth muscle cells (SMCs) at all stages examined, and appeared to be distributed across the aortic wall. However, some notable differences between the expression patterns were observed. CD40 had a more restricted distribution compared to CD40L, and did not stain every cell type of the aortic wall. According to immunoblotting and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) analyses, the CD40L content was highest at day 7 of development. An important and novel finding was the expression of CD40L in areas where ECs transdifferentiate into mesenchymal cells. Specifically, CD40L was associated to the surface of cells that were detaching and migrating from the monolayer of ECs, whereas for CD40 a very diffuse subcellular localization was seen at the monolayer and the detaching and migrating cells. These data suggest a possible role for CD40-CD40L interactions during EMT and the remodeling of the aorta.[1]


  1. CD40 and CD40L expression in the chicken embryo aorta: possible role in the endothelial-mesenchymal transdifferentiation process. Arciniegas, E., Becerra, A., De Sanctis, J.B., Graterol, A., Ramírez, R. The anatomical record. Part A, Discoveries in molecular, cellular, and evolutionary biology. (2003) [Pubmed]
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