Nat Commun. 2023 Sep 9;14(1):5552. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-41326-2.


The microvasculature plays a key role in tissue perfusion and exchange of gases and metabolites. In this study we use human blood vessel organoids (BVOs) as a model of the microvasculature. BVOs fully recapitulate key features of the human microvasculature, including the reliance of mature endothelial cells on glycolytic metabolism, as concluded from metabolic flux assays and mass spectrometry-based metabolomics using stable tracing of 13C-glucose. Pharmacological targeting of PFKFB3, an activator of glycolysis, using two chemical inhibitors results in rapid BVO restructuring, vessel regression with reduced pericyte coverage. PFKFB3 mutant BVOs also display similar structural remodelling. Proteomic analysis of the BVO secretome reveal remodelling of the extracellular matrix and differential expression of paracrine mediators such as CTGF. Treatment with recombinant CTGF recovers microvessel structure. In this work we demonstrate that BVOs rapidly undergo restructuring in response to metabolic changes and identify CTGF as a critical paracrine regulator of microvascular integrity.

PMID:37689702 | DOI:10.1038/s41467-023-41326-2