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Mediators Inflamm. 2008;2008:129873. doi: 10.1155/2008/129873. Epub 2009 Feb 10.

Proinflammatory role of vascular endothelial growth factor in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis: prospects for therapeutic intervention.

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  • 1Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, South Korea.

Abstract

Recent experimental and clinical studies have placed new emphasis on the role of angiogenesis in chronic inflammatory disease. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its receptors are the best characterized system in the regulation of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) by angiogenesis. Furthermore, in addition to its angiogenic role, VEGF can act as a direct proinflammatory mediator during the pathogenesis of RA, and protect rheumatoid synoviocytes from apoptosis, which contributes to synovial hyperplasia. Therefore, the developments of synovial inflammation, hyperplasia, and angiogenesis in the joints of RA patients seem to be regulated by a common cue, namely, VEGF. Agents that target VEGF, such as anti-VEGF antibody and aptamer, have yielded promising clinical data in patients with cancer or macular degeneration, and in RA patients, pharmacologic modulations targeting VEGF or its receptor may offer new therapeutic approaches. In this review, the authors integrate current knowledge of VEGF signaling and information on VEGF antagonists gleaned experimentally and place emphasis on the use of synthetic anti-VEGF hexapeptide to prevent VEGF interacting with its receptor.

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