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Thromb Haemost. 1997 Jul;78(1):678-83.

Angiogenesis in embryos and ischemic diseases.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Max Planck Institute for Physiological and Clinical Research, Bad Nauheim, Germany.


Angiogenic growth factors and their endothelial receptors are thought to function as major regulators of blood vessel formation. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its receptors, Flt-1 (VEGFR-1) and Flk-1 (VEGFR-2), as well as Angiopoietin-1 and its receptor, Tie-2, represent key signal transduction systems involved in the regulation of embryonic vascular development. The expression of these molecules correlates with phases of blood vessel formation during embryogenesis. Inactivation of any of the genes encoding these molecules in mouse embryos results in defective vascular development and embryonic lethality around mid-gestation. In addition, the VEGF signal transduction system has been implicated in the regulation of pathological blood vessel growth during certain angiogenesis-dependent diseases that are often associated with tissue ischemia, such as proliferative retinopathy or solid tumor growth. This hypothesis is substantiated by experiments, in which the inhibition of VEGF signal transduction resulted in the the inhibition of neovascularization in these diseases. Thus, the VEGF signal transduction system represents a useful target for an anti-angiogenic therapy.

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