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EMBO J. Jul 15, 1999; 18(14): 3964–3972.
PMCID: PMC1171472

VEGF contributes to postnatal neovascularization by mobilizing bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cells.

Abstract

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been shown to promote neovascularization in animal models and, more recently, in human subjects. This feature has been assumed to result exclusively from its direct effects on fully differentiated endothelial cells, i.e. angiogenesis. Given its regulatory role in both angiogenesis and vasculogenesis during fetal development, we investigated the hypothesis that VEGF may modulate endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) kinetics for postnatal neovascularization. Indeed, we observed an increase in circulating EPCs following VEGF administration in vivo. VEGF-induced mobilization of bone marrow-derived EPCs resulted in increased differentiated EPCs in vitro and augmented corneal neovascularization in vivo. These findings thus establish a novel role for VEGF in postnatal neovascularization which complements its known impact on angiogenesis.

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