Notch signaling is an evolutionarily conserved, intercellular signaling mechanism that plays myriad roles during vascular development and physiology in vertebrates. These roles include the regulation of arteriovenous specification and differentiation in both endothelial cells and vascular smooth muscle cells, regulation of blood vessel sprouting and branching during normal and pathological angiogenesis, and the physiological responses of vascular smooth muscle cells. Defects in Notch signaling also cause inherited vascular diseases, such as the degenerative vascular disorder cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy. This review summarizes recent studies that highlight the multiple roles the Notch signaling pathway plays during vascular development and physiology.
Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.