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Overview of angiogenesis inhibitors

Calvin J Kuo, MD, PhD
Section Editor
Lawrence LK Leung, MD
Deputy Editor
Jennifer S Tirnauer, MD


As the embryo develops, mesodermal precursors differentiate into endothelial cells and assemble into primitive vascular networks in a process called vasculogenesis. These networks undergo extensive budding and branching, and associate themselves with vascular smooth muscle elements in a process termed angiogenesis, thus yielding an extensive vasculature capable of responding to systemic as well as local tissue needs. The end result is that each cell is supported by a capillary network that enables it to receive necessary nutrients and oxygen, and export its cellular products (eg, hormones, vasoactive materials, metabolic waste products).

Following embryogenesis, angiogenesis is repeated during tissue repair (eg, wound healing) and overall growth of the organism. Angiogenesis also occurs during certain specialized situations such as during the menstrual cycle and implantation of the embryo during pregnancy, and can be highly coordinated with hemostasis [1]. Alterations in normal or newly formed vascular networks can also be associated with disease, as illustrated by the following situations:

Occlusion of blood vessels can result in tissue hypoxia and damage (eg, peripheral vascular disease, myocardial infarction, stroke, vasoocclusion in sickle cell disease).

Interference with the action of vascular endothelial growth factor and placental growth factor may play a central role in the placental hypoperfusion seen in preeclampsia. (See "Preeclampsia: Pathogenesis", section on 'Systemic endothelial dysfunction'.)

Inappropriate and excessive growth of blood vessels plays a causative role in ocular disorders such as diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Apr 26, 2016.
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