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While blood vessels play important roles in bone homeostasis and repair, fundamental aspects of vascular function in the skeletal system remain poorly understood. Here we show that the long bone vasculature generates a peculiar flow pattern, which is important for proper angiogenesis. Intravital imaging reveals that vessel growth in murine long bone involves the extension and anastomotic fusion of endothelial buds. Impaired blood flow leads to defective angiogenesis and osteogenesis, and downregulation of Notch signalling in endothelial cells. In aged mice, skeletal blood flow and endothelial Notch activity are also reduced leading to decreased angiogenesis and osteogenesis, which is reverted by genetic reactivation of Notch. Blood flow and angiogenesis in aged mice are also enhanced on administration of bisphosphonate, a class of drugs frequently used for the treatment of osteoporosis. We propose that blood flow and endothelial Notch signalling are key factors controlling ageing processes in the skeletal system.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/ncomms13601

Type

Journal article

Journal

Nat Commun

Publication Date

06/12/2016

Volume

7

Keywords

Alendronate, Animals, Blood Vessels, Bone and Bones, Diphosphonates, Endothelial Cells, Female, Male, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Models, Biological, Neovascularization, Physiologic, Osteogenesis, Receptors, Notch, Regional Blood Flow, Signal Transduction