Effects of copper deficiency on mouse yolk sac vasculature and expression of angiogenic mediators

Soo Jin Yang, Janet Y. Uriu-Adams, Carl L Keen, Robert B. Rucker, Louise Lanoue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Cu deficiency results in embryonic defects and yolk sac (YS) vasculature abnormalities. In diverse model systems, Cu treatment modulates angiogenesis, perhaps by influencing the activity of angiogenic mediators such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Conversely, Cu chelators can suppress angiogenesis. METHODS: Gestation day (GD) 8.5 embryos from mice fed Cu-adequate (Cu+) or Cu-deficient (Cu-) diets were cultured in Cu+ or Cu- medium for 48 hr. Growth and development were evaluated, and YS vessel diameters were measured. Using RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry, the mRNA and protein expressions of VEGF, Flt-1, Flk-1, Angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1), and Tie-2 were analyzed. RESULTS: Cu+/Cu+ embryos developed normally, whereas Cu-/Cu- embryos showed a high incidence of developmental anomalies. Cu-/Cu- YS had a high proportion of vessels that were large in diameter compared to the Cu+/Cu+ YS. The mRNA expression of angiogenic mediators in Cu-/Cu- YS was similar to that in Cu+/Cu+ YS. The protein expression of VEGF in the Cu-/Cu- YS without any vessel defects, and Tie-2 in the Cu-/Cu- YS with both vessel defects and blood islands was significantly lower than that in the Cu+/Cu+ YS. The protein expression of Flt-1, Flk-1 and Ang-1 was similar among groups regardless of the presence, or type, of vessel defects. CONCLUSIONS: Results from the current study support the concept that Cu is required for the normal development of YS vasculature. Our data suggest that the impaired vascularization of Cu-deficient YS cannot be explained fully by the altered protein expression of the angiogenic growth factors reported here.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-454
Number of pages10
JournalBirth Defects Research Part B - Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2006


  • Angiogenesis
  • Angiogenic mediators
  • Cu deficiency
  • Vessel diameter
  • Yolk sac vasculature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Toxicology
  • Cancer Research


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