Diverse roles for VEGF-A in the nervous system

Development. 2012 Apr;139(8):1371-80. doi: 10.1242/dev.072348.


Vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) is best known for its essential roles in blood vessel growth. However, evidence has emerged that VEGF-A also promotes a wide range of neuronal functions, both in vitro and in vivo, including neurogenesis, neuronal migration, neuronal survival and axon guidance. Recent studies have employed mouse models to distinguish the direct effects of VEGF on neurons from its indirect, vessel-mediated effects. Ultimately, refining our knowledge of VEGF signalling pathways in neurons should help us to understand how the current use of therapeutics targeting the VEGF pathway in cancer and eye disease might be expanded to promote neuronal health and nerve repair.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism
  • Brain / embryology
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Survival
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Nervous System / embryology
  • Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Signal Transduction
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / physiology*


  • Protein Isoforms
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A