The ephrins and Eph receptors in angiogenesis

Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2002 Feb;13(1):75-85. doi: 10.1016/s1359-6101(01)00031-4.


Eph receptors are a unique family of receptor tyrosine kinases that play critical roles in embryonic patterning, neuronal targeting, vascular development and adult neovascularization. Engagement of Eph receptors by ephrin ligands mediates critical steps of angiogenesis, including juxtacrine cell-cell contacts, cell adhesion to extracellular matrix, and cell migration. Recent evidence from in vitro angiogenesis assays and analysis of mice deficient for one or more members of the Eph family establishes the role of Eph signaling in sprouting angiogenesis and blood vessel remodeling during vascular development. Furthermore, elevated expression of Eph receptors and ephrin ligands is associated with tumors and associated tumor vasculature, suggesting that Eph receptors and their ephrin ligands also play critical roles in tumor angiogenesis and tumor growth. This review will focus on the relevance of Eph receptor signaling in embryonic and adult neovascularization, and possible contributions to tumor growth and metastasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Movement
  • Fetal Proteins / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic*
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic*
  • Phenotype
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / physiology*
  • Receptor, EphA4
  • Receptor, EphB4
  • Receptors, Eph Family
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Fetal Proteins
  • Ligands
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Receptor, EphA4
  • Receptor, EphB4
  • Receptors, Eph Family