Vascular endothelial growth factor
) is a signal protein produced by cells that stimulates vasculogenesis and angiogenesis. It is part of the system that restores the oxygen supply to tissues when blood circulation is inadequate.
VEGF's normal function is to create new blood vessels during embryonic development
, new blood vessels after injury, muscle following exercise, and new vessels (collateral circulation
) to bypass blocked vessels.
When VEGF is overexpressed, it can contribute to disease. Solid cancers cannot grow beyond a limited size without an adequate blood supply; cancers that can express VEGF are able to grow and metastasize. Overexpression of VEGF can cause vascular disease in the retina
of the eye and other parts of the body. Drugs such as bevacizumab
can inhibit VEGF and control or slow those diseases.
VEGF is a sub-family of growth factors
, to be specific, the platelet-derived growth factor
family of cystine-knot growth factors. They are important signaling proteins
involved in both vasculogenesis
(the de novo
formation of the embryonic circulatory system
) and angiogenesis
(the growth of blood vessels from pre-existing vasculature).
The most important member is VEGF-A
. Other members are Placenta growth factor (PlGF
. The latter ones were discovered later than VEGF-A, and, before their discovery, VEGF-A was called just VEGF.
A number of VEGF-related proteins have also been discovered encoded by viruses (VEGF-E
) and... Read More