, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 71-77

Hedgehog signalling in vascular development

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The Hedgehog family of proteins are powerful morphogens mediating embryonic development as well as adult morphogenesis and carcinogenesis. For example, excess hedgehog activity has been implicated in basal cell carcinoma, medulloblastoma and rhabdomyosarcoma. More recently, hedgehog signalling has been implicated in angiogenesis. While hedgehog signalling in adult angiogenesis may constitute a simple recapitulation of that in embryonic development, it should be appreciated that Hedgehog signalling occurs in embryonic angiogenesis in different developmental contexts. This article reviews the role of Hedgehog signalling in both embryonic and postnatal vascular development. The temporal importance of a window of hedgehog dependent angiogenesis during development is emphasised and illustrated using a whole mouse embryo culture system.