A new fasciocutaneous flap model identifies a critical role for endothelial Notch signaling in wound healing and flap survival. Sci Rep. 2023;13(1):12542.
JMG, Mice, Animals, Endothelial Cells, Neovascularization, Physiologic, Calcium-Binding Proteins, Wound Healing, Inflammation
Sci Rep. 2023;13(1):12542.
Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL
Flap surgery is a common treatment for severe wounds and a major determinant of surgical outcome. Flap survival and healing depends on adaptation of the local flap vasculature. Using a novel and defined model of fasciocutaneous flap surgery, we demonstrate that the Notch ligand Delta-like 1 (Dll1), expressed in vascular endothelial cells, regulates flap arteriogenesis, inflammation and flap survival. Utilizing the stereotyped anatomy of dorsal skin arteries, ligation of the major vascular pedicle induced strong collateral vessel development by end-to-end anastomosis in wildtype mice, which supported flap perfusion recovery over time. In mice with heterozygous deletion of Dll1, collateral vessel formation was strongly impaired, resulting in aberrant vascularization and subsequent necrosis of the tissue. Furthermore, Dll1 deficient mice showed severe inflammation in the flap dominated by monocytes and macrophages. This process is controlled by endothelial Dll1 in vivo, since the results were recapitulated in mice with endothelial-specific deletion of Dll1. Thus, our model provides a platform to study vascular adaptation to flap surgery and molecular and cellular regulators influencing flap healing and survival.