Angiogenesis in liver disease

J Hepatol. 2009 Mar;50(3):604-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2008.12.011. Epub 2008 Dec 31.


Angiogenesis and disruption of liver vascular architecture have been linked to progression to cirrhosis and liver cancer (HCC) in chronic liver diseases, which contributes both to increased hepatic vascular resistance and portal hypertension and to decreased hepatocyte perfusion. On the other hand, recent evidence shows that angiogenesis modulates the formation of portal-systemic collaterals and the increased splanchnic blood flow which are involved in the life threatening complications of cirrhosis. Finally, angiogenesis plays a key role in the growth of tumours, suggesting that interference with angiogenesis may prevent or delay the development of HCC. This review summarizes current knowledge on the molecular mechanisms of liver angiogenesis and on the consequences of angiogenesis in chronic liver disease. On the other hand, it presents the different strategies that have been used in experimental models to counteract excessive angiogenesis and its potential role in preventing transition to cirrhosis, development of portal hypertension and its consequences, and its application in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Disease Progression
  • Endothelial Cells / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Portal / complications
  • Liver Circulation
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology
  • Liver Diseases / pathology*
  • Liver Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Liver Regeneration*
  • Necrosis
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / physiology
  • Vascular Resistance


  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A