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J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 1999 Apr;58(4):313-20.

Mechanisms of angiogenesis in the brain.

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Department of Neuropathology, Neurocenter, Freiburg University Medical School, Germany.


Brain angiogenesis is a tightly controlled process that is regulated by neuroectodermal derived growth factors that bind to tyrosine kinase receptors expressed on endothelial cells. In the rat brain, angiogenesis is complete around postnatal day 20, but endothelial cells can proliferate in the adult brain under pathological conditions such as hypoxia/ischemia and brain tumor growth. Current evidence suggests that physiological angiogenesis in the brain is regulated by similar mechanisms as pathological angiogenesis induced by tumors or by hypoxia/ischemia. The hypoxia-inducible endothelial cell mitogen and vascular permeability factor, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) appears to play a pivotal role in most of these processes. VEGF is expressed when angiogenesis is high, as in embryonic neuroectoderm, in glioblastomas and around infarcts, but is expressed at low levels when angiogenesis is absent, as in adult neuroectoderm. Since growth factors such as VEGF and angiopoietins and their receptors appear to be necessary for angiogenesis, targeting of growth factor/receptor pathways for angiogenesis-dependent diseases such as glioblastoma might be useful for therapy. Several compounds, including anti-VEGF antibodies and VEGFR-2 inhibitors are currently in clinical trial. On the other hand, induction of angiogenesis by growth factors (pro-angiogenesis) might prove to be a rational therapy for patients with stroke.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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