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      VEGF receptor signal transduction.

      Science's STKE : signal transduction knowledge environment
      Animals, Endothelial Growth Factors, metabolism, physiology, Humans, Lymphokines, Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases, Receptors, Growth Factor, Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor, Signal Transduction, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors

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          Abstract

          The family of vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs) currently includes VEGF-A, -B, -C, -D, -E, and placenta growth factor (PlGF). Several of these factors, notably VEGF-A, exist as different isoforms, which appear to have unique biological functions. The VEGF family proteins bind in a distinct pattern to three structurally related receptor tyrosine kinases, denoted VEGF receptor-1, -2, and -3. Neuropilins, heparan-sulfated proteoglycans, cadherins, and integrin alphavbeta3 serve as coreceptors for certain but not all VEGF proteins. Moreover, the angiogenic response to VEGF varies between different organs and is dependent on the genetic background of the animal. Inactivation of the genes for VEGF-A and VEGF receptor-2 leads to embryonal death due to the lack of endothelial cells. Inactivation of the gene encoding VEGF receptor-1 leads to an increased number of endothelial cells, which obstruct the vessel lumen. Inactivation of VEGF receptor-3 leads to abnormally organized vessels and cardiac failure. Although VEGF receptor-3 normally is expressed only on lymphatic endothelial cells, it is up-regulated on vascular as well as nonvascular tumors and appears to be involved in the regulation of angiogenesis. A large body of data, such as those on gene inactivation, indicate that VEGF receptor-1 exerts a negative regulatory effect on VEGF receptor-2, at least during embryogenesis. Recent data imply a positive regulatory role for VEGF receptor-1 in pathological angiogenesis. The VEGF proteins are in general poor mitogens, but binding of VEGF-A to VEGF receptor-2 leads to survival, migration, and differentiation of endothelial cells and mediation of vascular permeability. This review outlines the current knowledge about the signal transduction properties of VEGF receptors, with focus on VEGF receptor-2.

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          Most cited references158

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          Ischemia- and cytokine-induced mobilization of bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cells for neovascularization.

          Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) have been isolated from circulating mononuclear cells in human peripheral blood and shown to be incorporated into foci of neovascularization, consistent with postnatal vasculogenesis. We determined whether endogenous stimuli (tissue ischemia) and exogenous cytokine therapy (granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor, GM-CSF) mobilize EPCs and thereby contribute to neovascularization of ischemic tissues. The development of regional ischemia in both mice and rabbits increased the frequency of circulating EPCs. In mice, the effect of ischemia-induced EPC mobilization was demonstrated by enhanced ocular neovascularization after cornea micropocket surgery in mice with hindlimb ischemia compared with that in non-ischemic control mice. In rabbits with hindlimb ischemia, circulating EPCs were further augmented after pretreatment with GM-CSF, with a corresponding improvement in hindlimb neovascularization. There was direct evidence that EPCs that contributed to enhanced corneal neovascularization were specifically mobilized from the bone marrow in response to ischemia and GM-CSF in mice transplanted with bone marrow from transgenic donors expressing beta-galactosidase transcriptionally regulated by the endothelial cell-specific Tie-2 promoter. These findings indicate that circulating EPCs are mobilized endogenously in response to tissue ischemia or exogenously by cytokine therapy and thereby augment neovascularization of ischemic tissues.
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            Role of the Flt-1 receptor tyrosine kinase in regulating the assembly of vascular endothelium.

            The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its high-affinity binding receptors, the tyrosine kinases Flt-1 and Flk-1, are thought to be important for the development of embryonic vasculature. Here we report that Flt-1 is essential for the organization of embryonic vasculature, but is not essential for endothelial cell differentiation. Mouse embryos homozygous for a targeted mutation in the flt-1 locus, flt-1lcz, formed endothelial cells in both embryonic and extra-embryonic regions, but assembled these cells into abnormal vascular channels and died in utero at mid-somite stages. At earlier stages, the blood islands of flt-1lcz homozygotes were abnormal, with angioblasts in the interior as well as on the periphery. We suggest that the Flt-1 signalling pathway may regulate normal endothelial cell-cell or cell-matrix interactions during vascular development.
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              Vascular endothelial growth factor acts as a survival factor for newly formed retinal vessels and has implications for retinopathy of prematurity.

              Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is initiated by hyperoxia-induced obliteration of newly formed blood vessels in the retina of the premature newborn. We propose that vessel regression is a consequence of hyperoxia-induced withdrawal of a critical vascular survival factor. We show that regression of retinal capillaries in neonatal rats exposed to high oxygen, is preceded by a shut-off of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) production by nearby neuroglial cells. Vessel regression occurs via selective apoptosis of endothelial cells. Intraocular injection of VEGF at the onset of experimental hyperoxia prevents apoptotic death of endothelial cells and rescues the retinal vasculature. These findings provide evidence for a specific angiogenic factor acting as a vascular survival factor in vivo. The system also provides a paradigm for vascular remodelling as an adaptive response to an increase in oxygen tension and suggests a novel approach to prevention of ROP.
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