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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2002 Feb;13(1):19-27.

The angiopoietins and Tie2/Tek: adding to the complexity of cardiovascular development.

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Division of Molecular and Cellular Biology Research, Sunnybrook and Women's College Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4N 3M5.


The expansion or remodelling of pre-existing blood vessels, known as angiogenesis, by either nascent sprouting, intercalated or intussusceptive growth is a highly regulated process. Angiogenesis is critical not only during normal embryonic vascular development, but also in the progression of several diseases, including cancer, psoriasis, and diabetes. Mouse molecular genetic experiments have shown that the angiopoietins and their receptor Tie2/Tek are indispensable for embryonic vessel development. The importance of the angiopoietin-signalling pathway has also been shown to extend beyond development, into in vitro and in vivo experimental models of angiogenic growth. Currently the precise role of the angiopoietins remains unclear. However, what is emerging from genetic, xenograft transplant, histochemical and cell culture experiments are that the response of endothelial cells to angiopoietins appears to be context and endothelial cell type specific.

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