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Dev Dyn. 2001 Jan;220(1):1-17.

The role of FGF and VEGF in angioblast induction and migration during vascular development.

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1
State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Syracuse, New York 13210, USA.

Abstract

The embryonic vasculature forms by the processes of vasculogenesis and angiogenesis. Angioblasts (endothelial cell precursors) appear to be induced by fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2). The angioblasts contributing to the dorsal aortae arise by an epithelial to mesenchymal transformation of cells originating from the splanchnic mesoderm. QH-l and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR-2) both appear to label these cells as they adopt a mesenchymal morphology. Since VEGFR-2 is the earliest known VEGF receptor this suggests that VEGF is not involved in angioblast induction. VEGF does appear to be critical, however, for growth and morphogenesis of angioblasts into the initial vascular pattern. Controlled delivery of FGF-2 from beads and aggregates of cells transfected with quail VEGF have been used in our laboratory to study the role of these growth factors in angioblast induction and migration. We have induced cells from the epithelial quail somite to differentiate into angioblasts with FGF-2 both in the embryo and in culture. This is a useful model system to study the origins of endothelial cells that are normally more diffusely induced during gastrulation by an obscure process probably involving signals from the embryonic endoderm. The origins of arterial versus venous endothelial cells is also poorly understood but recent findings on the distribution of ephrins and Eph receptors suggest that molecular differences exist prior to the onset of circulation. Finally, studies on the role of growth factors in such diverse phenomena as stem cell biology, angiogenesis, and molecular medicine in addition to vascular development suggest multiple roles for FGF-2 and VEGF in vascular development.

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