Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 18627106
Dev. Dyn. 2008 Aug;237(8):2187-94
Using an nlacZ reporter gene inserted at the Msx1 and Msx2 loci, we could analyze the expression of these homeogenes in the adult mouse. We observed that Msx genes are prominently expressed in a subset of blood vessels. The Msx2nlacZ allele is mainly expressed in a restricted population of mural cells in peripheral arteries and veins. Msx1nlacZ is expressed to a lesser extent by vascular smooth muscle cells of peripheral arteries, but is highly expressed in arterioles and capillaries, making Msx1 a novel marker for a subpopulation of pericytes. Expression is set up early in developing vessels and maintained throughout life. In addition, expression of both genes is observed in a few endothelial cells of the aorta at fetal stages, and only Msx2 continues to be expressed in this layer at the adult stage. These results suggest major functions for Msx genes in vascular mural cell formation and remodeling.