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Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2002 Feb;13(1):75-85.

The ephrins and Eph receptors in angiogenesis.

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Department of Cancer Biology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, A-4323 MCN, 1161 21st Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.


Eph receptors are a unique family of receptor tyrosine kinases that play critical roles in embryonic patterning, neuronal targeting, vascular development and adult neovascularization. Engagement of Eph receptors by ephrin ligands mediates critical steps of angiogenesis, including juxtacrine cell-cell contacts, cell adhesion to extracellular matrix, and cell migration. Recent evidence from in vitro angiogenesis assays and analysis of mice deficient for one or more members of the Eph family establishes the role of Eph signaling in sprouting angiogenesis and blood vessel remodeling during vascular development. Furthermore, elevated expression of Eph receptors and ephrin ligands is associated with tumors and associated tumor vasculature, suggesting that Eph receptors and their ephrin ligands also play critical roles in tumor angiogenesis and tumor growth. This review will focus on the relevance of Eph receptor signaling in embryonic and adult neovascularization, and possible contributions to tumor growth and metastasis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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