Self-assembly, buckling and density-invariant growth of three-dimensional vascular networks

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The experimental actualization of organoids modelling organs from brains to pancreases has revealed that much of the diverse morphologies of organs are emergent properties of simple intercellular 'rules' and not the result of top-down orchestration. In contrast to other organs, the initial plexus of the vascular system is formed by aggregation of cells in the process known as vasculogenesis. Here we study this self-assembling process of blood vessels in three dimensions through a set of simple rules that align intercellular apical-basal and planar cell polarity. We demonstrate that a fully connected network of tubes emerges above a critical initial density of cells. Through planar cell polarity, our model demonstrates convergent extension, and this polarity furthermore allows for both morphology-maintaining growth and growth-induced buckling. We compare this buckling with the special vasculature of the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas and suggest that the mechanism behind the vascular density-maintaining growth of these islets could be the result of growth-induced buckling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20190517
JournalJournal of the Royal Society. Interface
Issue number159
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2019

Number of downloads are based on statistics from Google Scholar and

No data available

ID: 229440167