Chemokines, a large family of inflammatory cytokines, have been shown to play a critical role in the regulation of angiogenesis during several pathophysiologic processes, such as tumor growth, wound healing and ischemia. Semiquantitative or quantitative angiogenesis assays are commonly utilized to screen the angiogenic or angiostatic activity of chemokines. These include in vitro endothelial cell activation assays and ex vivo or in vivo models of neovascularization. Chemokines may exert their regulatory activity on angiogenesis directly or as a consequence of leukocyte infiltration and/or the induction of growth factor expression. The effect of chemokines on endothelium can be assessed by performing in vitro assays on purified endothelial cell populations or by in vivo assays. Nevertheless, each model used to evaluate the angiogenic or angiostatic activity of a discrete factor has advantages and limitations. Thus, in order to avoid under- or overestimating the regulatory effect of chemokines on angiogenesis and to evaluate all aspects of the angiogenic process, multiple assays are usually performed. This review summarizes past and recent studies on chemokines as modulators of angiogenesis with particular emphasis on the methods currently used for the assessment of chemokine-mediated angiogenic or angiostatic responses.
Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science B.V.