Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry

, Volume 264, Issue 1–2, pp 3–11 | Cite as

Growth factor activation in myocardial vascularization: Therapeutic implications

  • Robert J. Tomanek
  • Wei Zheng
  • Xinping Yue


A rapid growth of the coronary vasculature occurs during prenatal and early postnatal periods as precursor cells from the epi- and sub-epicardium differentiate, migrate and form vascular structures (vasculogenesis) which then fuse, branch and in some cases recruit cells to form three tunics (angiogenesis). These processes are tightly controlled by temporally and spatially expressed growth factors which are stimulated by metabolic and mechanical factors. The process of angiogenesis in the myocardium is not limited to developmental periods of life, but may occur when the heart is challenged by enhanced loading conditions or during hypoxia or ischemia. This review focuses on the activation of growth factors by metabolic and mechanical stimuli in the developing heart and in the adult heart undergoing adaptive responses. Experimental studies support the hypotheses that both metabolic (hypoxia) and mechanical (stretch) factors serve as powerful stimuli for the up-regulation of growth factors which facilitate angiogenesis and arteriogenesis. Both hypoxia and stretch are powerful inducers of VEGF and its receptors, and provide for paracrine and autocrine signaling. In addition to the VEGF family, bFGF and angiopoietins play major roles in myocardial vascularization. Sufficient evidence supports the hypothesis that mechanical (e.g., bradycardia) and metabolic (e.g., thyroxine analogs) may provide effective non-invasive angiogenic therapies for the ischemic and post-infarcted heart. (Mol Cell Biochem 264: 3–11, 2004)

angiopoietins bFGF hypoxia shear stress stretch VEGF 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert J. Tomanek
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wei Zheng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xinping Yue
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and Cell BiologyUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.The Cardiovascular CenterUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA

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