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Nat Rev Genet. 2003 Sep;4(9):710-20.

Blood vessels and nerves: common signals, pathways and diseases.

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Center for Transgene Technology and Gene Therapy, Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Campus Gasthuisberg, Herestraat 49, B-3000, Leuven, Belgium.


Both blood vessels and nerves are vital channels to and from tissues. Recent genetic insights show that they have much more in common than was originally anticipated. They use similar signals and principles to differentiate, grow and navigate towards their targets. Moreover, the vascular and nervous systems cross-talk and, when dysregulated, this contributes to medically important diseases. The realization that both systems use common genetic pathways should not only form links between vascular biology and neuroscience, but also promises to accelerate the discovery of new mechanistic insights and therapeutic opportunities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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