Capillaries consist of a single layer of squamous endothelium sitting on a basement membrane, measuring around 5-10 micrometers in diameter , . The endothelial cells perform the function of regulating permeability and subsequently the exchange of oxygen, nutrients, carbon dioxide and waste products . Additionally, they are the only cell to directly contact blood under physiological conditions. Endothelial cells functions include but are not limited to regulating immune response, initiating growth of new blood vessels and regulation of blood clotting .
Neovasculature is initially formed during embryonic development and is maintained throughout life in response to various stimulating factors such as growth or injury , . Neovascularization can occur via two distinctly different processes, vasculogenesis or angiogenesis , . Vasculogenesis is the process by which new vessels are formed de novo in early embryonic development , , , . The vascular lattice formed from vasculogenesis then forms the structural basis for angiogenesis , . Angiogenesis is the physiological process by which new blood vessels are formed from preexisting ones in a rigorously defined way , , . This process can occur via either proliferative invasive sprouting of the vascular network into the surrounding tissue or by intussusception, the remodeling of vessels by the division into two or more daughter vessels –.
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