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The formation of new blood vessels plays an important role during the development and progression of a disease. In recent years, there has been a tremendous effort to uncover the molecular mechanisms that drive blood vessel growth in adult tissues. Angiopoietins belong to a family of growth factors that are critically involved in blood vessel formation during developmental and pathological angiogenesis. The importance of Angiopoietin signaling has been recognized in transgenic mouse models as the genetic ablation of Ang-1, and its primary receptor Tie2 has led to early embryonic lethality. Interesting and unusual for a family of ligands, Ang-2 has been identified as an antagonist of Ang-1 in endothelial cells as evidenced by a similar embryonic phenotype when Ang-2 was overexpressed in transgenic mice. In this review, we focus on the functional consequences of autocrine Angiopoietin signaling in endothelial cells.
KeywordsVascular Endothelial Growth Factor Tumor Vessel Pathological Angiogenesis Inhibit Tumor Angiogenesis Pericyte Coverage
I gratefully acknowledge Jutta Reiss for helping with the illustrations and cartoons, and Andrea Tal for confocal images. This work is supported by the SFB/TR23 – C1 and the Excellence Cluster Cardio-Pulmonary System (ECCPS).
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