Frontiers in Biology

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 125–140 | Cite as

Targeting endothelial cell metabolism: new therapeutic prospects?

  • Annalisa Zecchin
  • Aleksandra Brajic
  • Peter CarmelietEmail author


Endothelial cells (ECs) line blood vessels and function as a vital conduit for oxygen and nutrients, but can also form vascular niches for various types of stem cells. While mostly quiescent throughout adult life, ECs can rapidly switch to a highly active state, and start to sprout in order to form new blood vessels. ECs can also become dysfunctional, as occurs in diabetes and atherosclerosis. Recent studies have demonstrated a key role for EC metabolism in the regulation of angiogenesis, and showed that EC metabolism is even capable of overriding genetic signals. In this review, we will review the basic principles of EC metabolism and focus on the metabolic alterations that accompany EC dysfunction in diabetes and vessel overgrowth in cancer. We will also highlight how EC metabolism influences EC behavior by modulating post-translational modification and epigenetic changes, and illustrate how dietary supplementation of metabolites can change EC responses. Finally, we will discuss the potential of targeting EC metabolism as a novel therapeutic strategy.


angiogenesis metabolism endothelial cell dysfunction anti-angiogenic therapy 


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annalisa Zecchin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Aleksandra Brajic
    • 1
    • 2
  • Peter Carmeliet
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory of Angiogenesis and Neurovascular Link, Vesalius Research CenterVIBLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Laboratory of Angiogenesis and Neurovascular Link, Department of OncologyKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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