PURPOSE OF REVIEW: In this mini-review, we have highlighted the recent breakthroughs in growth factor signaling that have made conceptual changes in our understanding of how blood vessels are formed. RECENT FINDINGS: Studies conducted over the past few years have focused on understanding the cell biology of vascular morphogenesis. The major themes include characterization of the different cell types that comprise a vascular sprout, as well as the regulatory influence of cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions on signaling outcomes. In addition, novel trends have emerged, including nonconventional ways in which vascular endothelial growth factor contributes to cell survival and metabolic balance. SUMMARY: The growth of new capillary sprouts from a preexisting vascular network requires a highly coordinated cellular response to both growth factors and morphogens. This response is sensed and triggered by cell surface receptors responsible for the activation of an intracellular cascade that efficiently initiates migration and proliferation programs. While the molecular players that coordinate these effects have been identified, recent findings have expanded our understanding of how context, in particular cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, affects endothelial cell responses to growth factors.
- Endothelial cells
- Vascular endothelial growth factor
- Vascular system
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