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J Magn Reson Imaging. 2007 Jan;25(1):1-12.

Molecular imaging of angiogenesis.

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Department of Biological Regulation, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


Angiogenesis (the growth of new blood vessels) is a complex multistep process that involves multiple cell types, numerous growth factors, and complex regulatory checks and balances. Tight control of vascular remodeling evolved to ensure stability of the vasculature while maintaining the body's ability to rapidly mount an angiogenic response requiring a high degree of plasticity. Angiogenesis is critical not only for physiological development, but also for the progression of pathologies, and is thus a target for therapeutic intervention. The importance of the process coupled with the ease of access for delivery of contrast agents makes the vasculature at large, and angiogenesis in particular, a favorable target of functional and molecular imaging. Recent developments in molecular imaging tools have expanded our views to encompass many components of the process. Functional imaging of blood volume, vessel permeability, and vasoreactivity is complemented by novel contrast agents that reveal specific targets on endothelial cells. Methods have been developed to label vascular cells so as to track their recruitment to sites of angiogenesis, and new "smart" contrast agents have been designed to reveal the activity of enzymatic reactions in altering the extracellular matrix (ECM) during angiogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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