Regulation of scar formation by vascular endothelial growth factor

Lab Invest. 2008 Jun;88(6):579-90. doi: 10.1038/labinvest.2008.36. Epub 2008 Apr 21.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF-A) is known for its effects on endothelial cells and as a positive mediator of angiogenesis. VEGF is thought to promote repair of cutaneous wounds due to its proangiogenic properties, but its ability to regulate other aspects of wound repair, such as the generation of scar tissue, has not been studied well. We examined the role of VEGF in scar tissue production using models of scarless and fibrotic repair. Scarless fetal wounds had lower levels of VEGF and were less vascular than fibrotic fetal wounds, and the scarless phenotype could be converted to a scar-forming phenotype by adding exogenous VEGF. Similarly, neutralization of VEGF reduced vascularity and decreased scar formation in adult wounds. These results show that VEGF levels have a strong influence on scar tissue formation. Our data suggest that VEGF may not simply function as a mediator of wound angiogenesis, but instead may play a more diverse role in the wound repair process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / administration & dosage
  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Antibodies / pharmacology
  • Cicatrix / drug therapy
  • Cicatrix / metabolism*
  • Cicatrix / pathology
  • Collagen / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Fetus / physiopathology
  • Fetus / surgery
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Immunoglobulin G / administration & dosage
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / drug effects
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / physiology
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism
  • Skin / blood supply
  • Skin / ultrastructure
  • Time Factors
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / genetics
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / physiology*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / therapeutic use*
  • Vimentin / metabolism
  • Wound Healing / drug effects
  • Wound Healing / physiology*


  • Antibodies
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vimentin
  • Collagen