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J Clin Immunol. 2007 May;27(3):246-56. Epub 2007 Mar 6.

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in autoimmune diseases.

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  • 1Rheumatology Division, São Paulo University, School of Medicine, São Paulo, Brazil.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a potent stimulating factor for angiogenesis and vascular permeability. There are eight isoforms with different and sometimes overlapping functions. The mechanisms of action are under investigation with emerging insights into overlapping pathways and cross-talk between other receptors such as the neuropilins, which were not previously associated to angiogenesis. VEGF has important physiological actions on embryonic development, healing, and menstrual cycle. It also has a great role in pathological conditions that are associated to autoimmune diseases. There is considerable evidence in various autoimmune diseases such as in systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis of an interrelationship between the VEGF system and theses disorders. Serum levels of VEGF correlate with disease activity in a large number of autoimmune diseases and fall with the use of standard therapy. We raised the possible future therapeutic strategies in autoimmune diseases with the anti-VEGF or anti-VEGFR (receptor). So far, this therapy has been used in cancer and macular ocular degeneration in diabetes. This review outlines the evidence for VEGF participation in various autoimmune diseases and proposes lines for future research in this field.

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