Author(s): Nagy JA, Senger DR
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Abstract Normal angiogenesis is a complex process involving the organization of proliferating and migrating endothelial cells (ECs) into a well-ordered and highly functional vascular network. In contrast, pathological angiogenesis, which is a conspicuous feature of tumor growth, ischemic diseases, and chronic inflammation, is characterized by vessels with aberrant angioarchitecture and compromised barrier function. Herein we review the subject of pathological angiogenesis, particularly that driven by vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF-A), from a new perspective. We propose that the serious structural and functional anomalies associated with VEGF-A-elicited neovessels, reflect, at least in part, imbalances in the internal molecular cues that govern the ordered assembly of ECs into three dimensional vascular networks and preserve vessel barrier function. Adopting such a viewpoint widens the focus from solely on specific pro-angiogenic stimuli such as VEGF-A to include a key set of cytoskeletal regulatory molecules, the Rho GTPases, which are known to direct multiple aspects of vascular morphogenesis including EC motility, alignment, multi-cellular organization, as well as intercellular junction integrity. We offer this perspective to draw attention to the importance of endothelial cytoskeletal dynamics for proper neovascularization and to suggest new therapeutic strategies with the potential to improve the pathological vascular phenotype.
This article was published in Exp Cell Res
and referenced in Journal of Steroids & Hormonal Science