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Pediatr Dev Pathol. 2007 Jan-Feb;10(1):1-17.

Molecular mechanisms of pulmonary vascular development.

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Department of Pathology, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


In this era of rapidly advancing vascular biology research, a vast array of growth factors and signaling molecules have been recognized as key players in the mechanisms that control lung vascular development. In the lung, vascular development is a complex, multistep process that includes specialization of primitive cells to vascular progenitors; formation of primitive vascular networks; remodeling with local regression and branching; specialization toward arteries, veins, and lymphatics; stabilization of vessels by matrix production and recruitment of supporting cells; and maintenance of the vascular structure. This complex, highly organized process requires exquisite orchestration of the regulatory activity of multiple molecules in a specific temporospatial order. Most of these molecules are members of 3 major growth factor families that have been recently identified. They are the vascular endothelial growth factor, angiopoietin, and ephrin families. Understanding the functional reach of several members of these growth factor families is integral to an appreciation of the etiology and pathogenesis of developmental lung vascular disorders affecting newborns. This review summarizes recent advances in the molecular bases of lung vascular development and some of the pulmonary diseases resulting from aberrant vascular growth, including bronchopulmonary dysplasia, alveolar capillary dysplasia, congenital cystic pulmonary disorders, congenital pulmonary hemangiomatosis, and lung hypoplasia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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