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Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today. 2003 Feb;69(1):73-82.

Embryonic and adult vasculogenesis.

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Cardiovascular Developmental Biology Center, Department of Cell Biology, Medical University of South Carolina, 173 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.


Two mechanisms account for the formation of blood vessels, vasculogenesis and angiogenesis. Unfortunately, the terms vasculogenesis and angiogenesis literally have the same meaning, i.e., the genesis of blood vessels, and thus do little to distinguish between the two processes. Despite the nomenclature, the two processes are clearly distinct. Vasculogenesis, the de novo formation of blood vessels from mesoderm, is driven by the recruitment of undifferentiated mesodermal cells to the endothelial lineage and the de novo assembly of such cells into blood vessels. Angiogenesis is the generation of new blood vessels from endothelial cells of existing blood vessels, a process driven by endothelial cell proliferation. Recent years have seen dramatic changes in our understanding of the process of vasculogenesis, expanding the scope of its occurrence beyond the earliest stages of development to include involvement in neovascular processes throughout development as well as in the adult. In this review, emphasis is placed on discussion of emerging perspectives on the process of vasculogenesis in both the embryo and the adult.

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