Vasculogenesis and angiogenesis in the early human placenta

Acta Histochem. 2007;109(4):257-65. doi: 10.1016/j.acthis.2007.02.008. Epub 2007 Jun 15.


Vasculogenesis and angiogenesis are two consecutive processes during blood vessel development in the human placenta. While vasculogenesis, which is the formation of first blood vessels, is achieved by differentiation of pluripotent mesenchymal cells into haemangiogenic stem cells. The subsequent step, angiogenesis, is characterized by development of new vessels from already existing vessels. In this review, we aim to give an overview of vasculogenesis and angiogenesis during the first trimester of human placental development. Recent studies have shown that at the very early stages of placental development, cytotrophoblasts trigger vasculogenesis and angiogenesis, whereas as pregnancy progresses Hofbauer and stromal cells take over the task of triggering blood vessel development. Important growth factors in this scenario are the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) family and their receptors, as well as Tie-1 and Tie-2. This review depicts the molecular and morphological steps of vasculogenesis and angiogenesis, which can give further insights into human placental development and maturation disorders.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Placenta / blood supply*
  • Placenta / cytology*
  • Placenta / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Time Factors
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism


  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor