Biology of platelet-derived growth factors in development

Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today. 2003 Nov;69(4):272-85. doi: 10.1002/bdrc.10030.


Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) was one of the first growth factors to be characterized, and the PDGF family of ligand and receptors has remained an archetype system for studies of the mechanisms of action of growth factors and receptor tyrosine kinases for more than two decades. The small size of the family has also facilitated genetic studies and, in particular, manipulations of the mouse PDGF and PDGF receptor genes have given important insights into the role of this family during mammalian development. These studies have shown that discrete populations of mesenchymal and neuroectodermal progenitor cells depend on PDGF signaling for their growth and distribution within developing organs. Other studies suggest that the same, or similar, cells may be targeted by exaggerated PDGF signaling in a number of pathological processes, including different types of cancer. The present review summarizes current views on the roles of PDGFs in developmental processes, and discusses the critical importance of the amount, spatial distribution, and bioavailability of the PDGF proteins for acquisition of the correct number and location of target cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Movement
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Mice
  • Organogenesis
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor / chemistry
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor / classification
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor / physiology*
  • Receptors, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor / physiology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / physiology


  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Receptors, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor