Prof. Andrew Makanya

My name is Andrew Makanya. I grew up in Nyeri County (then Nyeri District) where I attended Kagumo Primary School between 1971 and 1977, graduating top of the class with Certificate of Primary Education (CPE) in 1977. My hobbies in primary school included handicraft and drawing. I later joined Chinga Boys High School for my O-level education in 1978 during which time I was a member and leader in the Young Farmers Club, the Catholic Action Association and Drama Club.




Makanya, A, Mills-Thompson AN, Nguhiu-Mwangi J, Oduma J, Ojoo R.  2020.  Morphometric and stereological methods for quantifying the coarse structural parameters of the ruminal tissues in sheep. International Journal of Veterinary Science and Medicine. 8(1):59-70.
Makanya, AN, Kavoi BM, Kihurani DO.  2020.  Slight volume changes in the duck lung do not imply a fundamental change in the structure of the parenchyma., 2020 Sep 24. Anatomia, Histologia, Embryologia. Abstract

Slight changes in lung volume have previously been reported in ducks. We studied the functional structure of the lung of the domestic duck using classical anatomical techniques as well as ultrasound monitoring to unravel the causes of such changes. Later dorsal and medioventral secondary bronchi were superficially positioned and covered with a thin transparent and collapsible membrane, internally lined with a cuboidal to squamous epithelium. The lung parenchyma was rigid, with atria well supported by septa containing smooth muscles, interparabronchial septa reinforced by collagen fibres, and blood capillaries supported by epithelial plates. On ultrasound monitoring, an outward and inward movement of the lung surface during inspiration and expiration, respectively, was evident at the region where the airways were covered by the thin membranes. The movements plausibly facilitated air movement in the lung just like the air sacs. We conclude that volume changes in the duck lung occur due to a slight morphological adaptation rather than a change in the archetypical design of the avian lung parenchyma.


Dimova, I, Karthik S, Makanya A, Hlushchuk R, Semela D, Volarevic V, Djonov V.  2019.  SDF-1/CXCR4 signalling is involved in blood vessel growth and remodelling by intussusception., 2019 Jun. Journal of cellular and molecular medicine. 23(6):3916-3926. Abstract

The precise mechanisms of SDF-1 (CXCL12) in angiogenesis are not fully elucidated. Recently, we showed that Notch inhibition induces extensive intussusceptive angiogenesis by recruitment of mononuclear cells and it was associated with increased levels of SDF-1 and CXCR4. In the current study, we demonstrated SDF-1 expression in liver sinusoidal vessels of Notch1 knockout mice with regenerative hyperplasia by means of intussusception, but we did not detect any SDF-1 expression in wild-type mice with normal liver vessel structure. In addition, pharmacological inhibition of SDF-1/CXCR4 signalling by AMD3100 perturbs intussusceptive vascular growth and abolishes mononuclear cell recruitment in the chicken area vasculosa. In contrast, treatment with recombinant SDF-1 protein increased microvascular density by 34% through augmentation of pillar number compared to controls. The number of extravasating mononuclear cells was four times higher after SDF-1 application and two times less after blocking this pathway. Bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells (BMDC) were recruited to vessels in response to elevated expression of SDF-1 in endothelial cells. They participated in formation and stabilization of pillars. The current study is the first report to implicate SDF-1/CXCR4 signalling in intussusceptive angiogenesis and further highlights the stabilizing role of BMDC in the formation of pillars during vascular remodelling.

Karthik, S, Djukic T, Kim J-D, Zuber B, Makanya A, Odriozola A, Hlushchuk R, Filipovic N, Jin SW, Djonov V.  2019.  Publisher Correction: Synergistic interaction of sprouting and intussusceptive angiogenesis during zebrafish caudal vein plexus development., 2019 Mar 06. Scientific reports. 9(1):4152. Abstract

A correction to this article has been published and is linked from the HTML and PDF versions of this paper. The error has been fixed in the paper.


Karthik, S, Djukic T, Kim J-D, Zuber B, Makanya A, Odriozola A, Hlushchuk R, Filipovic N, Jin SW, Djonov V.  2018.  Synergistic interaction of sprouting and intussusceptive angiogenesis during zebrafish caudal vein plexus development., 2018 06 29. Scientific reports. 8(1):9840. Abstract

Intussusceptive angiogenesis (IA) is a complementary method to sprouting angiogenesis (SA). The hallmark of IA is formation of trans-capillary tissue pillars, their fusion and remodeling of the vascular plexus. In this study, we investigate the formation of the zebrafish caudal vein plexus (CVP) in Tg(fli1a:eGFP) and the synergistic interaction of IA and SA in crafting the archetypical angio-architecture of the CVP. Dynamic in vivo observations and quantitative analyses revealed that the primitive CVP during development was initiated through SA. Further vascular growth and remodeling occurred by IA. Intussusception contributed to the expansion of the CVP by formation of new pillars. Those pillars arose in front of the already existing ones; and in a subsequent step the serried pillars elongated and fused together. This resulted in segregation of larger vascular segments and remodelling of the disorganized vascular meshwork into hierarchical tree-like arrangement. Blood flow was the main driving force for IA, particularly shear stress geometry at the site of pillar formation and fusion. Computational simulations based on hemodynamics showed drop in shear stress levels at locations of new pillar formation, pillar elongation and fusion. Correlative 3D serial block face scanning electron microscopy confirmed the morphological substrate of the phenomena of the pillar formation observed in vivo. The data obtained demonstrates that after the sprouting phase and formation of the primitive capillary meshwork, the hemodynamic conditions enhance intussusceptive segregation of hierarchical vascular tree i.e. intussusceptive arborization resulting in complex vascular structures with specific angio-architecture.


Makanya, AN.  2017.  Development of the Airways and the Vasculature in the Lungs of Birds. The Biology of the Avian Respiratory System.
Onyono, PN, Kavoi BM, Kiama SG, Makanya AN.  2017.  Functional Morphology of the Olfactory Mucosa and Olfactory Bulb in Fossorial Rodents: The East African Root Rat (Tachyoryctes splendens) and the Naked Mole Rat (Heterocephalus glaber)., 2017 Oct. Tissue & cell. 49(5):612-621. Abstract

Optimal functioning of the olfactory system is critical for survival of fossorial rodents in their subterranean lifestyle. This study examines the structure of the olfactory mucosa and olfactory bulb of two fossorial rodents exhibiting distinct social behaviors, the East African root rat and the naked mole rat. The social naked mole rat displayed simpler ethmoturbinates consisting of dorsomedial and broad discoid/flaplike parts that projected rostrally from the ethmoid bone. In the solitary root rat however, the ethmoturbinates were highly complex and exhibited elaborate branching which greatly increased the olfactory surface area. In addition, when correlated with the whole brain, the volume of the olfactory bulbs was greater in the root rat (4.24×10) than in the naked mole rat (3.92×10). Results of this study suggest that the olfactory system of the root rat is better specialized than that of the naked mole rat indicating a higher level of dependence on this system since it leads a solitary life. The naked mole rat to the contrary may have compensated for its relatively inferior olfactory system by living in groups in a social system. These findings demonstrate that structure of the olfactory system of fossorial mammals is dictated by both behavior and habitat.

Hlushchuk, R, Styp-Rekowska B, Dzambazi J, Wnuk M, Huynh-Do U, Makanya A, Djonov V.  2017.  Endoglin inhibition leads to intussusceptive angiogenesis via activation of factors related to COUP-TFII signaling pathway., 2017. PloS one. 12(8):e0182813. Abstract

Angiogenesis is a highly coordinated, extremely complex process orchestrated by multiple signaling molecules and blood flow conditions. While sprouting mode of angiogenesis is very well investigated, the molecular mechanisms underlying intussusception, the second mode of angiogenesis, remain largely unclear. In the current study two molecules involved in vascular growth and differentiation, namely endoglin (ENG/CD105) and chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter transcription factor II (COUP-TFII) were examined to unravel their specific roles in angiogenesis. Down- respectively up-regulation of both molecules tightly correlates with intussusceptive microvascular growth. Upon ENG inhibition in chicken embryo model, formation of irregular capillary meshwork accompanied by increased expression of COUP-TFII could be observed. This dynamic expression pattern of ENG and COUP-TFII during vascular development and remodeling correlated with formation of pillars and progression of intussusceptive angiogenesis. Similar findings could be observed in mammalian model of acute rat Thy1.1 glomerulonephritis, which was induced by intravenous injection of anti-Thy1 antibody and has shown upregulation of COUP-TFII in initial phase of intussusception, while ENG expression was not disturbed compared to the controls but decreased over the time of pillar formation. In this study, we have shown that ENG inhibition and at the same time up-regulation of COUP-TFII expression promotes intussusceptive angiogenesis.


Makanya, AN.  2016.  Membrane mediated development of the vertebrate blood-gas-barrier., 2016 Mar. Birth defects research. Part C, Embryo today : reviews. 108(1):85-97. Abstract

During embryonic lung development, establishment of the gas-exchanging units is guided by epithelial tubes lined by columnar cells. Ultimately, a thin blood-gas barrier (BGB) is established and forms the interface for efficient gas exchange. This thin BGB is achieved through processes, which entail lowering of tight junctions, stretching, and thinning in mammals. In birds the processes are termed peremerecytosis, if they involve cell squeezing and constriction, or secarecytosis, if they entail cutting cells to size. In peremerecytosis, cells constrict at a point below the protruding apical part, resulting in fusion of the opposing membranes and discharge of the aposome, or the cell may be squeezed by the more endowed cognate neighbors. Secarecytosis may entail formation of double membranes below the aposome, subsequent unzipping and discharge of the aposome, or vesicles form below the aposome, fuse in a bilateral manner, and release the aposome. These processes occur within limited developmental windows, and are mediated through cell membranes that appear to be of intracellular in origin. In addition, basement membranes (BM) play pivotal roles in differentiation of the epithelial and endothelial layers of the BGB. Laminins found in the BM are particularly important in the signaling pathways that result in formation of squamous pneumocytes and pulmonary capillaries, the two major components of the BGB. Some information exists on the contribution by BM to BGB formation, but little is known regarding the molecules that drive peremerecytosis, or even the origins and composition of the double and vesicular membranes involved in secarecytosis.

Makanya, AN, Dimova I, Koller T, Styp-Rekowska B, Djonov V.  2016.  Dynamics of the Developing Chick Chorioallantoic Membrane Assessed by Stereology, Allometry, Immunohistochemistry and Molecular Analysis., 2016. PloS one. 11(4):e0152821. Abstract

The chick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) is a widely used model for the study of angiogenesis, tumour growth, as well as drug efficacy. In spite of this, little is known about the developmental alteration from its appearance to the time of hatching. In the current study the CAM has been studied by classical stereology and allometry. Expression levels of selected angiogenesis-related molecules were estimated by RT-PCR and cell dynamics assessed by proliferation and apoptosis assays. Absolute CAM volume increased from a low of 0.47 ± 0.11 cm3 at embryonic day 8 (E8) to a high of 2.05 ± 0.27 cm3 at E18, and then decreased to 1.6 ± 0.47 cm3 at E20. On allometric analysis, three growth phases were identifiable. Between E8-13 (phase I), the CAM grew fastest; moderately in phase II (E13-18) but was regressing in phase III (E18-20). The chorion, the mesenchyme and the allantoic layers grew fastest in phase I, but moderately in phase II. The mesenchyme grew slowly in phase III while the chorion and allantois were regressing. Chorionic cell volume increased fastest in phase I and was regressing in phase III. Chorionic capillaries grew steadily in phase I and II but regressed in phase III. Both the chorion and the allantois grew by intrinsic cell proliferation as well as recruitment of cells from the mesenchyme. Cell proliferation was prominent in the allantois and chorion early during development, declined after E17 and apoptosis started mainly in the chorion from E14. VEGFR2 expression peaked at E11 and declined steadily towards E20, VEGF peaked at E13 and E20 while HIF 1α had a peak at E11 and E20. Studies targeting CAM growth and angiogenesis need to take these growth phases into consideration.


Dimova, I, Hlushchuk R, Makanya A, Karthik S, Nikolova D, Djonov V.  2015.  Notch signaling in normal and tumor angiogenesis. 20th World Congress on Advances in Oncology and 18th International Symposium on Molecular Medicine . :Volume:36:S62-S62., Metropolitan Hotel, Athens, Greece
Makanya, AN, Djonov V.  2015.  Prenatal and Postnatal Development of the Blood-gas Barrier. The Vertebrate Blood-Gas Barrier in Health and Disease: Structure, Development and Remodeling. :149-176., New York: Springer
Makanya, AN, Styp_Rekowska B, Dimova I, Djonov V.  2015.  Avian Area Vasculosa and CAM as Rapid in Vivo Pro-Angiogenic and Antiangiogenic Models. Methods Mol Biol.. 2015;1214:185-96.


Haenssgen, K, Makanya AN, Djonov V.  2014.  Casting materials and their application in research and teaching., 2014 Apr. Microscopy and microanalysis : the official journal of Microscopy Society of America, Microbeam Analysis Society, Microscopical Society of Canada. 20(2):493-513. Abstract

From a biological point of view, casting refers to filling of anatomical and/or pathological spaces with extraneous material that reproduces a three-dimensional replica of the space. Casting may be accompanied by additional procedures such as corrosion, in which the soft tissue is digested out, leaving a clean cast, or the material may be mixed with radiopaque substances to allow x-ray photography or micro computed topography (µCT) scanning. Alternatively, clearing of the surrounding soft tissue increases transparency and allows visualization of the casted cavities. Combination of casting with tissue fixation allows anatomical dissection and didactic surgical procedures on the tissue. Casting materials fall into three categories namely, aqueous substances (India ink, Prussian blue ink), pliable materials (gelatins, latex, and silicone rubber), or hard materials (methyl methacrylates, polyurethanes, polyesters, and epoxy resins). Casting has proved invaluable in both teaching and research and many phenomenal biological processes have been discovered through casting. The choice of a particular material depends inter alia on the targeted use and the intended subsequent investigative procedures, such as dissection, microscopy, or µCT. The casting material needs to be pliable where anatomical and surgical manipulations are intended, and capillary-passable for ultrastructural investigations.

Makanya, AN, Kavoi BM, Djonov V.  2014.  Three-Dimensional Structure and Disposition of the Air Conducting and Gas Exchange Conduits of the Avian Lung: The Domestic Duck (Cairina moschata)., 2014. ISRN anatomy. 2014:621982. Abstract

The anatomy of the domestic duck lung was studied macroscopically, by casting and by light, transmission, and scanning electron microscopy. The lung had four categories of secondary bronchi (SB), namely, the medioventral (MV, 4-5), laterodorsal (LD, 6-10), lateroventral (LV, 2-4), and posterior secondary bronchi (PO, 36-44). The neopulmonic parabronchi formed an intricate feltwork on the ventral third of the lung and inosculated those from the other SB. The lung parenchyma was organized into cylindrical parabronchi separated by thin septa containing blood vessels. Atria were shallow and well-fortified by epithelial ridges reinforced by smooth muscle bundles and gave rise to 2-6 elongate infundibulae. Air capillaries arose either directly from the atria or from infundibulae and were tubular or globular in shape with thin interconnecting branches. The newly described spatial disposition of the conducting air conduits closely resembles that of the chicken. This remarkable similarity between the categories, numbers, and 3D arrangement of the SB in the duck and chicken points to a convergence in function-oriented design. To illuminate airflow dynamics in the avian lung, precise directions of airflow in the various categories of SB and parabronchi need to be characterized.

Nasimolo, J, Kiama SG, Gathumbi PK, Makanya AN, Kagira JM.  2014.  Erythrina abyssinica prevents meningoencephalitis in chronic Trypanosoma brucei brucei mouse model., 2014 Jun. Metabolic brain disease. 29(2):509-19. Abstract

Human African trypanosomiasis is prevalent in Sub-sahara African countries that lie between 14° North and 29° south of the equator. Sixty million people are at risk of infection. Trypanosoma brucei gambesience occurs in West and Central Africa while Trypanosoma brucei rhodesience occurs in East and Southern Africa. The neurological stage of the disease is characterized by neuroinflammation. About 10% of patients treated with the recommended drug, melarsoprol develop post treatment reactive encephalopathy, which is fatal in 50% of these patients, thus melarsoprol is fatal in 5% of all treated patients. This study was aimed at establishing the potential activity of Erythrina abyssinica in reducing neuroinflammation following infection with Trypanosoma brucei brucei. Swiss white mice were divided into ten groups, two control groups and eight infected groups. Infected mice received either methanol or water extract of Erythrina abyssinica at 12.5, 25, 50 or 100 mg/kg body weight. Parasite counts were monitored in peripheral circulation from the third day post infection up to the end of the study. Brains were processed for histology, immunohistochemistry scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Following infection, trypanosomes were observed in circulation 3 days post-infection, with the parasitaemia occurring in waves. In the cerebrum, typical brain pathology of chronic trypanosomiasis was reproduced. This was exhibited as astrocytosis, perivascular cuffing and infiltration of inflammatory cells into the neuropil. However, mice treated with Erythrina abyssinica water extract exhibited significant reduction in perivascular cuffing, lymphocytic infiltration and astrocytosis in the cerebrum. The methanol extract did not have a significant difference compared to the non-treated group. This study provides evidence of anti-inflammatory properties of Erythrina abyssinica and may support its wide use as a medicinal plant by various communities in Kenya.

Kisipan, ML, Oduor-Okelo D, Makanya AN, Onyango DW.  2014.  The structure, morphometry and vascular perfusion of the testis in the rufous sengi (Elephantulus rufescens). Journal of Morphological Sciences . 31:146-155.


Makanya, A, Anagnostopoulou A, Djonov V.  2013.  Development and remodeling of the vertebrate blood-gas barrier., 2013. BioMed research international. 2013:101597. Abstract

During vertebrate development, the lung inaugurates as an endodermal bud from the primitive foregut. Dichotomous subdivision of the bud results in arborizing airways that form the prospective gas exchanging chambers, where a thin blood-gas barrier (BGB) is established. In the mammalian lung, this proceeds through conversion of type II cells to type I cells, thinning, and elongation of the cells as well as extrusion of the lamellar bodies. Subsequent diminution of interstitial tissue and apposition of capillaries to the alveolar epithelium establish a thin BGB. In the noncompliant avian lung, attenuation proceeds through cell-cutting processes that result in remarkable thinning of the epithelial layer. A host of morphoregulatory molecules, including transcription factors such as Nkx2.1, GATA, HNF-3, and WNT5a; signaling molecules including FGF, BMP-4, Shh, and TFG- β and extracellular proteins and their receptors have been implicated. During normal physiological function, the BGB may be remodeled in response to alterations in transmural pressures in both blood capillaries and airspaces. Such changes are mitigated through rapid expression of the relevant genes for extracellular matrix proteins and growth factors. While an appreciable amount of information regarding molecular control has been documented in the mammalian lung, very little is available on the avian lung.

Papah, MB, Kisia SM, Ojoo RO, Makanya AN, Wood CM, Kavembe GD, Maina JN, Johannsson OE, Bergman HL, Laurent P, Chevalier C, Bianchini A, Bianchini LF, Onyango DW.  2013.  Morphological evaluation of spermatogenesis in Lake Magadi tilapia (Alcolapia grahami): a fish living on the edge., 2013 Dec. Tissue & cell. 45(6):371-82. Abstract

Spermatogenesis in Lake Magadi tilapia (Alcolapia grahami), a cichlid fish endemic to the highly alkaline and saline Lake Magadi in Kenya, was evaluated using light and transmission electron microscopy. Spermatogenesis, typified by its three major phases (spermatocytogenesis, meiosis and spermiogenesis), was demonstrated by the presence of maturational spermatogenic cells namely spermatogonia, spermatocytes, spermatids and spermatozoa. Primary spermatogonia, the largest of all the germ cells, underwent a series of mitotic divisions producing primary spermatocytes, which then entered two consecutive meiotic divisions to produce secondary spermatocytes and spermatids. Spermatids, in turn, passed through three structurally distinct developmental stages typical of type-I spermiogenesis to yield typical primitive anacrosomal spermatozoa of the externally fertilizing type (aquasperm). The spermatozoon of this fish exhibited a spheroidal head with the nucleus containing highly electron-dense chromatin globules, a midpiece containing ten ovoid mitochondria arranged in two rows and a flagellum formed by the typical 9 + 2 microtubule axoneme. In addition, the midpiece, with no cytoplasmic sheath, appeared to end blindly distally in a lobe-like pattern around the flagellum; a feature that was unique and considered adaptive for the spermatozoon of this species to the harsh external environment. These observations show that the testis of A. grahami often undergoes active spermatogenesis despite the harsh environmental conditions to which it is exposed on a daily basis within the lake. Further, the spermiogenic features and spermatozoal ultrastructure appear to be characteristic of Cichlidae and, therefore, may be of phylogenetic significance.

Dimova, I, Hlushchuk R, Makanya A, Styp-Rekowska B, Ceausu A, Flueckiger S, Lang S, Semela D, Le Noble F, Chatterjee S, Djonov V.  2013.  Inhibition of Notch signaling induces extensive intussusceptive neo-angiogenesis by recruitment of mononuclear cells., 2013 Oct. Angiogenesis. 16(4):921-37. Abstract

Notch is an intercellular signaling pathway related mainly to sprouting neo-angiogenesis. The objective of our study was to evaluate the angiogenic mechanisms involved in the vascular augmentation (sprouting/intussusception) after Notch inhibition within perfused vascular beds using the chick area vasculosa and MxCreNotch1(lox/lox) mice. In vivo monitoring combined with morphological investigations demonstrated that inhibition of Notch signaling within perfused vascular beds remarkably induced intussusceptive angiogenesis (IA) with resultant dense immature capillary plexuses. The latter were characterized by 40 % increase in vascular density, pericyte detachment, enhanced vessel permeability, as well as recruitment and extravasation of mononuclear cells into the incipient transluminal pillars (quintessence of IA). Combination of Notch inhibition with injection of bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells dramatically enhanced IA with 80 % increase in vascular density and pillar number augmentation by 420 %. Additionally, there was down-regulation of ephrinB2 mRNA levels consequent to Notch inhibition. Inhibition of ephrinB2 or EphB4 signaling induced some pericyte detachment and resulted in up-regulation of VEGFRs but with neither an angiogenic response nor recruitment of mononuclear cells. Notably, Tie-2 receptor was down-regulated, and the chemotactic factors SDF-1/CXCR4 were up-regulated only due to the Notch inhibition. Disruption of Notch signaling at the fronts of developing vessels generally results in massive sprouting. On the contrary, in the already existing vascular beds, down-regulation of Notch signaling triggered rapid augmentation of the vasculature predominantly by IA. Notch inhibition disturbed vessel stability and led to pericyte detachment followed by extravasation of mononuclear cells. The mononuclear cells contributed to formation of transluminal pillars with sustained IA resulting in a dense vascular plexus without concomitant vascular remodeling and maturation.


Kavoi, BM, Makanya AN, Plendl J, Johanna P, Kiama SG.  2012.  Morphofunctional adaptations of the olfactory mucosa in postnatally developing rabbits., 2012 Aug. Anatomical record (Hoboken, N.J. : 2007). 295(8):1352-63. Abstract

Rabbits are born blind and deaf and receive unusually limited maternal care. Consequently, their suckling young heavily rely on the olfactory cue for nipple attachment. However, the postnatal morphofunctional adaptations of olfactory mucosa (OM) are not fully elucidated. To clarify on the extent and the pattern of refinement of the OM following birth in the rabbit, morphologic and morphometric analysis of the mucosa were done at neonatal (0-1 days), suckling (2 weeks), weanling (4 weeks), and adult (6-8 months) stages of postnatal development. In all the age groups, the basic components of the OM were present. However, proliferative activity of cells of the mucosal epithelium decreased with increasing age as revealed by Ki-67 immunostaining. Diameters of axon bundles, packing densities of olfactory cells, and cilia numbers per olfactory cell knob increased progressively with age being 5.5, 2.1, and 2.6 times, respectively, in the adult as compared with the neonate. Volume fraction values for the bundles increased by 5.3% from birth to suckling age and by 7.4% from weaning to adulthood and the bundle cores were infiltrated with blood capillaries in all ages except in the adult where such vessels were lacking. The pattern of cilia projection from olfactory cell knobs also showed age-related variations, that is, arose as a tuft from the tips of the knobs in neonates and sucklings and in a radial pattern from the knob bases in weanlings and adults. These morphological changes may be attributed to the high olfactory functional demand associated with postnatal development in the rabbit.

Kavoi, BM, Makanya AN, Kiama SG.  2012.  Anticancer drug vinblastine sulphate induces transient morphological changes on the olfactory mucosa of the rabbit., 2012 Oct. Anatomia, histologia, embryologia. 41(5):374-87. Abstract

Vinblastine sulphate (VBS) is an anticancer drug that acts by disrupting microtubule dynamics of highly mitotic tissue cells. The consequences of VBS on the olfactory mucosa (OM), a tissue with high mitotic numbers, are not clearly understood. We used qualitative and quantitative methods to determine the structural changes that may be produced on the rabbit OM by VBS. Following a single dose (0.31 mg/kg) of this drug, the structure of the mucosa was greatly altered on the first 3-5 days. The alteration was characterized by disarrangement of the normal layering of nuclei of the epithelia, degeneration of axonal bundles, occurrence of blood vessels within the bundles, localized death of cells of Bowman's glands and glandular degeneration. Surprisingly on or after day 7 and progressively to day 15 post-exposure, the OM was observed to regenerate and acquire normal morphology, and the vessels disappeared from the bundles. Relative to control values, bundle diameters, olfactory cell densities and cilia numbers decreased to as low as 53.1, 75.2 and 71.4%, respectively, on day 5. Volume density for the bundles, which was 28.6% in controls, decreased to a lowest value of 16.8% on day 5. In contrast, the volume density for the blood vessels was significantly lower in controls (19.9%) than in treated animals at day 2 (25.8%), day 3 (34.3%) and day 5 (31.5%). These findings suggest that the changes induced on the rabbit OM by VBS are transient and that regenerative recovery leads to the restoration of the normal structure of the mucosa.

Makanya, AN, Koller T, Hlushchuk R, Djonov V.  2012.  Pre-hatch lung development in the ostrich., 2012 Mar 15. Respiratory physiology & neurobiology. 180(2-3):183-92. Abstract

We studied development of the ostrich lung using light microscopy as well as electron microscopy techniques. At E24, the lung comprised a few epithelial tubes, interspersed with abundant mesenchyme with scattered profiles of incipient blood vessels. Between E24 and E39, the epithelial thickness was reduced by 90% from 13.5 ± 0.41 μm to 1.33 ± 0.014 μm (mean ± SD, respectively). Atria were evident at E32, and by E35, the first portions of the blood-gas barrier (BGB) measuring 3.41 ± 1.12 μm were encountered. Gas exchange tissue was well formed by E39 with atria, infundibulae, air capillaries and a mature blood-gas barrier (BGB). BGB formation proceeded through the complex processes of secarecytosis and peremerecytosis, which entailed decapitation of epithelial cells by cutting or pinching off respectively and by E39, the BGB was thin at 2.21 ± 1.21 μm. Vascular remodeling by intussusceptive angiogenesis was a late stage process mediated by intraluminal pillars in the pulmonary vasculature.

Papah, MB, Marande KS, Omondi OR, Onyango DW.  2012.  Spermiogenesis and sperm ultrastructure of Lake Magadi tilapia Alcolapia grahami (Teleostei, Perciformes, Cichlidae. Abstractabstract-spermiogenesis_and_sperm_ultrastructure_of_lake_magadi_tilapia.pdfWebsite

Papah, et al. 2012. . Spermiogenesis and sperm ultrastructure of Lake Magadi tilapia Alcolapia grahami (Teleostei, Perciformes, Cichlidae)., 25-27 April. Joint Faculty of Veterinary Medicine 8th Biennial Scientific Conference and 46th Kenya Veterinary Association annual Scientific conference. , Safari Park Hotel Nairobi.


Kisipan, ML, Makanya AN, Oduor-Okelo D, Onyango DW.  2011.  The Functional Morphology and Adaptations of the Epididymis in a Testicndid Mammal, The Rufous Sengi (Elephantulus rufescens). . Keny Veterinarian. 35(1):52-58.
Makanya, AN, El-Darawish Y, Kavoi BM, Djonov V.  2011.  Spatial and functional relationships between air conduits and blood capillaries in the pulmonary gas exchange tissue of adult and developing chickens., 2011 Feb. Microscopy research and technique. 74(2):159-69. Abstract

The documented data regarding the three-dimensional structure of the air capillaries (ACs), the ultimate sites of gas exchange in the avian lung is contradictory. Further, the mode of gas exchange, described as cross-current has not been clearly elucidated. We studied the temporal and spatial arrangement of the terminal air conduits of the chicken lung and their relationship with the blood capillaries (BCs) in embryos as well as the definitive architecture in adults. Several visualization techniques that included corrosion casting, light microscopy as well as scanning and transmission electron microscopy were used. Two to six infundibulae extend from each atrium and give rise to numerous ACs that spread centrifugally. Majority of the ACs are tubular structures that give off branches, which anastomose with their neighboring cognates. Some ACs have globular shapes and a few are blind-ending tapering tubes. During inauguration, the luminal aspects of the ACs are characterized by numerous microvillus-like microplicae, which are formed during the complex processes of cell attenuation and canalization of the ACs. The parabronchial exchange BCs, initially inaugurated as disorganized meshworks, are reoriented via pillar formation to lie predominantly orthogonal to the long axes of the ACs. The remodeling of the retiform meshworks by intussusceptive angiogenesis essentially accomplishes a cross-current system at the gas exchange interface in the adults, where BCs form ring-like patterns around the ACs, thus establishing a cross-current system. Our findings clarify the mode of gas exchange in the parabronchial mantle and illuminate the basis for the functional efficiency of the avian lung.

Hlushchuk, R, Makanya AN, Djonov V.  2011.  Escape mechanisms after antiangiogenic treatment, or why are the tumors growing again?, 2011 The International journal of developmental biology. 55(4-5):563-7. Abstract

Inhibitors of angiogenesis and radiation induce compensatory changes in the tumor vasculature both during and after cessation of treatment. In numerous preclinical studies, angiogenesis inhibitors were shown to be efficient in the treatment of many pathological conditions, including solid cancers. In most clinical trials, however, this approach turned out to have no significant effect, especially if applied as monotherapy. Recovery of tumors after therapy is a major problem in the management of cancer patients. The mechanisms underlying tumor recovery (or therapy resistance) have not yet been explicitly elucidated. This review deals with the transient switch from sprouting to intussusceptive angiogenesis, which may be an adaptive response of tumor vasculature to cancer therapy that allows the vasculature to maintain its functional properties. Potential candidates for molecular targeting of this angioadaptive mechanism are yet to be elucidated in order to improve the currently poor efficacy of contemporary antiangiogenic therapies.

Hlushchuk, R, Ehrbar M, Reichmuth P, Heinimann N, Styp-Rekowska B, Escher R, Baum O, Lienemann P, Makanya A, Keshet E, Djonov V.  2011.  Decrease in VEGF expression induces intussusceptive vascular pruning., 2011 Dec. Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology. 31(12):2836-44. Abstract

The concept of vascular pruning, the "cuting-off" of vessels, is gaining importance due to expansion of angio-modulating therapies. The proangiogenic effects of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are broadly described, but the mechanisms of structural alterations by its downregulation are not known.

Makanya, AN, Hlushchuk R, Djonov V.  2011.  The pulmonary blood-gas barrier in the avian embryo: inauguration, development and refinement., 2011 Aug 31. Respiratory physiology & neurobiology. 178(1):30-8. Abstract

In vertebrates, efficient gas exchange depends primarily on establishment of a thin blood-gas barrier (BGB). The primordial air conduits of the developing avian lung are lined with a cuboidal epithelium that is ultimately converted to a squamous one that participates in the formation of the BGB. In the early stages, cells form intraluminal protrusions (aposomes) then transcellular double membranes separating the aposome from the basal part of the cell establish, unzip and sever the aposome from the cell. Additionally, better endowed cells squeeze out adjacent cells or such cells constrict spontaneously thus extruding the squeezed out aposome. Formation of vesicles or vacuoles below the aposome and fusion of such cavities with their neighboring cognates results in severing of the aposome. Augmentation of cavities and their subsequent fusion with the apical plasma membranes results in formation of numerous microfolds separating concavities on the apical part of the cell. Abscission of such microfolds results in a smooth squamous epithelium just before hatching.

Mutua, PM, Gicheru MM, Makanya AN, Kiama SG.  2011.  Comparative Quantitative and Qualitative Attributes of the Surface Respiratory Macrophages in the Domestic Duck and the Rabbit.. International Journal of Morphology. 29(2):353-362.


Kavoi, BM, Makanya AN, Hassanali J, Carlsson HE, Kiama S.  2010.  Comparative functional structure of the olfactory mucosa in the domestic dog and sheep., 2010 Sep 20. Annals of anatomy = Anatomischer Anzeiger : official organ of the Anatomische Gesellschaft. 192(5):329-37. Abstract

Olfactory acuity differs among animal species depending on age and dependence on smell. However, the attendant functional anatomy has not been elucidated. We sought to determine the functional structure of the olfactory mucosa in suckling and adult dog and sheep. Mucosal samples harvested from ethmoturbinates were analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively. In both species, the olfactory mucosa comprised olfactory, supporting and basal cells, and a lamina propria containing bundles of olfactory cell axons, Bowman's glands and vascular elements. The olfactory cells terminated apically with an expanded knob, from which cilia projected in a radial fashion from its base and in form of a tuft from its apex in the dog and the sheep respectively. Olfactory cilia per knob were more numerous in the dog (19 ± 3) compared to the sheep (7 ± 2) (p<0.05). In the dog, axonal bundles exhibited one to two centrally located capillaries and the bundles were of greater diameters (73.3 ± 10.3 μm) than those of the sheep (50.6 ± 6.8 μm), which had no capillaries. From suckling to adulthood in the dog, the packing density of the olfactory and supporting cells increased by 22.5% and 12.6% respectively. Surprisingly in the sheep, the density of the olfactory cells decreased by 26.2% while that of the supportive cells showed no change. Overall epithelial thickness reached 72.5 ± 2.9 μm in the dog and 56.8 ± 3.1 μm in the sheep. These observations suggest that the mucosa is better structurally refined during maturation in the dog than in the sheep.


Makanya, AN, Hlushchuk R, Djonov VG.  2009.  Intussusceptive angiogenesis and its role in vascular morphogenesis, patterning, and remodeling., 2009. Angiogenesis. 12(2):113-23. Abstract

New blood vessels arise initially as blood islands in the process known as vasculogenesis or as new capillary segments produced through angiogenesis. Angiogenesis itself encompasses two broad processes, namely sprouting (SA) and intussusceptive (IA) angiogenesis. Primordial capillary plexuses expand through both SA and IA, but subsequent growth and remodeling are achieved through IA. The latter process proceeds through transluminal tissue pillar formation and subsequent vascular splitting, and the direction taken by the pillars delineates IA into overt phases, namely: intussusceptive microvascular growth, intussusceptive arborization, and intussusceptive branching remodeling. Intussusceptive microvascular growth circumscribes the process of initiation of pillar formation and their subsequent expansion with the result that the capillary surface area is greatly enhanced. In contrast, intussusceptive arborization entails formation of serried pillars that remodel the disorganized vascular meshwork into the typical tree-like arrangement. Optimization of local vascular branching geometry occurs through intussusceptive branching remodeling so that the vasculature is remodeled to meet the local demand. In addition, IA is important in creation of the local organ-specific angioarchitecture. While hemodynamic forces have proven direct effects on IA, with increase in blood flow resulting in initiation of pillars, the preponderant mechanisms are unclear. Molecular control of IA has so far not been unequivocally elucidated but interplay among several factors is probably involved. Future investigations are strongly encouraged to focus on interactions among angiogenic growth factors, angiopoetins, and related receptors.

Makanya, AN, Djonov V.  2009.  Parabronchial angioarchitecture in developing and adult chickens., 2009 Jun. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985). 106(6):1959-69. Abstract

The avian lung has a highly sophisticated morphology with a complex vascular system. Extant data regarding avian pulmonary angioarchitecture are few and contradictory. We used corrosion casting techniques, light microscopy, as well as scanning and transmission electron microscopy to study the development, topography, and distribution of the parabronchial vasculature in the chicken lung. The arterial system was divisible into three hierarchical generations, all formed external to the parabronchial capillary meshwork. These included the interparabronchial arteries (A1) that ran parallel to the long axes of parabronchi and gave rise to orthogonal parabronchial arteries (A2) that formed arterioles (A3). The arterioles formed capillaries that participated in the formation of the parabronchial mantle. The venous system comprised six hierarchical generations originating from the luminal aspect of the parabronchi, where capillaries converged to form occasional tiny infundibular venules (V6) around infundibulae, or septal venules (V5) between conterminous atria. The confluence of the latter venules formed atrial veins (V4), which gave rise to intraparabronchial veins (V3) that traversed the capillary meshwork to join the interparabronchial veins (V1) directly or via parabronchial veins (V2). The primitive networks inaugurated through sprouting, migration, and fusion of vessels and the basic vascular pattern was already established by the 20th embryonic day, with the arterial system preceding the venous system. Segregation and remodeling of the fine vascular entities occurred through intussusceptive angiogenesis, a process that probably progressed well into the posthatch period. Apposition of endothelial cells to the attenuating epithelial cells of the air capillaries resulted in establishment of the thin blood-gas barrier. Fusion of blood capillaries proceeded through apposition of the anastomosing sprouts, with subsequent thinning of the abutting boundaries and ultimate communication of the lumens. Orthogonal reorientation of the blood capillaries at the air capillary level resulted in a cross-current system at the gas exchange interface.

Dimova I, Hlushchuk R, A M, Buergy R, Le Noble F, Djonov V.  2009.  Modulation of angiogenesis by Notch-signalling inhibition in the chick area vasculosa.. USGEB meeting . , Interlaken, Switzerland


Makanya, AN, Djonov V.  2008.  Development and spatial organization of the air conduits in the lung of the domestic fowl, Gallus gallus variant domesticus., 2008 Sep. Microscopy research and technique. 71(9):689-702. Abstract

We employed macroscopic and ultrastructural techniques as well as intratracheal casting methods to investigate the pattern of development, categories, and arrangement of the air conduits in the chicken lung. The secondary bronchi included four medioventral (MVSB), 7-10 laterodorsal (LDSB), 1-3 lateroventral (LVSB), several sacobronchi, and 20-60 posterior secondary bronchi (POSB). The latter category has not been described before and is best discerned from the internal aspect of the mesobronchus. The secondary bronchi emerged directly from the mesobronchus, except for the sacobronchi, which sprouted from the air sacs. Parabronchi from the first MVSB coursed craniodorsally and inosculated their cognates from the first two LDSB. The parabronchi from the rest of the LDSB curved dorsomedially to join those from the rest of the MVSB at the dorsal border. Sprouting, migration, and anastomoses of the paleopulmonic parabronchi resulted in two groups of these air conduits; a cranial group oriented rostrocaudally and a dorsal group oriented dorsoventrally. The neopulmonic parabronchial network formed through profuse branching and anastomoses and occupied the ventrocaudal quarter of the lung. There were no differences in the number of secondary bronchi between the left and right lungs. Notably, a combination of several visualization techniques is requisite to adequately identify and enumerate all the categories of secondary bronchi present. The 3D arrangement of the air conduits ensures a sophisticated system, suitable for efficient gas exchange. Microsc. Res. Tech., 2008. (c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


Makanya, AN, Tschanz SA, Haenni B, Burri PH.  2007.  Functional respiratory morphology in the newborn quokka wallaby (Setonix brachyurus)., 2007 Jul. Journal of anatomy. 211(1):26-36. Abstract

A morphological and morphometric study of the lung of the newborn quokka wallaby (Setonix brachyurus) was undertaken to assess its morphofunctional status at birth. Additionally, skin structure and morphometry were investigated to assess the possibility of cutaneous gas exchange. The lung was at canalicular stage and comprised a few conducting airways and a parenchyma of thick-walled tubules lined by stretches of cuboidal pneumocytes alternating with squamous epithelium, with occasional portions of thin blood-gas barrier. The tubules were separated by abundant intertubular mesenchyme, aggregations of developing capillaries and mesenchymal cells. Conversion of the cuboidal pneumocytes to type I cells occurred through cell broadening and lamellar body extrusion. Superfluous cuboidal cells were lost through apoptosis and subsequent clearance by alveolar macrophages. The establishment of the thin blood-gas barrier was established through apposition of the incipient capillaries to the formative thin squamous epithelium. The absolute volume of the lung was 0.02 +/- 0.001 cm(3) with an air space surface area of 4.85 +/- 0.43 cm(2). Differentiated type I pneumocytes covered 78% of the tubular surface, the rest 22% going to long stretches of type II cells, their precursors or low cuboidal transitory cells with sparse lamellar bodies. The body weight-related diffusion capacity was 2.52 +/- 0.56 mL O(2) min(-1) kg(-1). The epidermis was poorly developed, and measured 29.97 +/- 4.88 microm in thickness, 13% of which was taken by a thin layer of stratum corneum, measuring 4.87 +/- 0.98 microm thick. Superficial capillaries were closely associated with the epidermis, showing the possibility that the skin also participated in some gaseous exchange. Qualitatively, the neonate quokka lung had the basic constituents for gas exchange but was quantitatively inadequate, implying the significance of percutaneous gas exchange.

Djonov V, Makanya A, Hlushchuk R, Baum O.  2007.  Microvascular growth and remodeling: the interplay between sprouting and intussusceptive angiogenic mechanisms., 2007 21. FASEB J.. :A232-A232.: American Association of Anatomists


Makanya, AN, Hlushchuk R, Duncker H-R, Draeger A, Djonov V.  2006.  Epithelial transformations in the establishment of the blood-gas barrier in the developing chick embryo lung., 2006 Jan. Developmental dynamics : an official publication of the American Association of Anatomists. 235(1):68-81. Abstract

The tall epithelium of the developing chick embryo lung is converted to a squamous one, which participates in formation of the thin blood-gas barrier. We show that this conversion occurred through processes resembling exocrine secretion. Initially, cells formed intraluminal protrusions (aposomes), and then transcellular double membranes were established. Gaps between the membranes opened, thus, severing the aposome from the cell. Alternatively, aposomes were squeezed out by adjacent cells or were spontaneously constricted and extruded. As a third mechanism, formation and fusion of severed vesicles or vacuoles below the aposome and their fusion with the apicolateral plasma membrane resulted in severing of the aposome. The atria started to form by progressive epithelial attenuation and subsequent invasion of the surrounding mesenchyme at regions delineated by subepithelial alpha-smooth muscle actin-positive cells. Further epithelial attenuation was achieved by vacuolation; rupture of such vacuoles with resultant numerous microfolds and microvilli, which were abscised to accomplish a smooth squamous epithelium just before hatching.

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