Author(s): Namieciska M, Marciniak K, Nowak JZ
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF, occurring in several isoforms: VEGF-A, -B, -C, -D) is a well-known endothelial cell mitogen and vascular growth and permeability factor. Recent work done over the last few years has elucidated the important role of VEGF, which participates in the regulation of normal (physiological or therapeutic) and pathological angiogenesis (VEGF-A, VEGF-B) and lymphangiogenesis (VEGF-C, VEGF-D). VEGF has also been implicated in practically every stage of angiogenesis, yet its role in the initiation of new blood vessel creation appears to be the most important. In addition to its role as a key angiogenic factor, VEGF also possesses neurotrophic and neuroprotective activity both in the peripheral and in the central nervous system, exerting a direct action on neurons, Schwann cells, astrocytes, neural stem cells, and microglia. VEGF interacts with three subtypes of VEGF receptors occurring on the cellular membrane known as VEGFR-1 (Flt-1), VEGFR-2 (Flk-1/KDR), and VEGFR-3 (Flt-4). All these receptor types possess an internal tyrosin kinase domain. Interaction of VEGF with particular subtypes of receptors activates a circuit of signaling pathways, e.g. PI3K/Akt, Ras/Raf-MEK/Erk, eNOS/NO, and IP3/Ca2+. These participate in the generation of specific biological responses connected with proliferation, migration, increasing vascular permeability, or promoting endothelial cell survival. Recent findings from experiments performed on animals with experimentally evoked focal cerebral ischemia suggest that the neuroprotective activity of VEGF runs in parallel with its ability to promote neurogenesis and angiogenesis and that these effects may operate independently through multiple mechanisms. The above-mentioned three major features characterizing the neurobiological activity of VEGF, i.e. neuroprotection, neurogenesis, and angiogenesis, together with their possible functional link(s), provide the rationale for considering VEGF-based therapy as a promising future avenue for a more effective treatment of at least some neurodegenerative disorders and stroke. Moreover, the possibility of using neutralizing factors of VEGF or VEGF receptor antagonists may reveal a way of preventing many dangerous pathologies, including post-ischemic disturbances in cardiac and neurological disorders, tumor growth, or hypervascularization in avascular structures of the eye.
This article was published in Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online)
and referenced in Journal of Cancer Science & Therapy