Neurovascular development and links to disease

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2013 May;70(10):1675-84. doi: 10.1007/s00018-013-1277-5. Epub 2013 Mar 12.


The developing central nervous system (CNS) is vascularized via ingression of blood vessels from the outside as the neural tissue expands. This angiogenic process occurs without perturbing CNS architecture due to exquisite cross-talk between the neural compartment and invading blood vessels. Subsequently, this intimate relationship also promotes the formation of the neurovascular unit that underlies the blood-brain barrier and regulates blood flow to match brain activity. This review provides a historical perspective on research into CNS blood vessel growth and patterning, discusses current models used to study CNS angiogenesis, and provides an overview of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that promote blood vessel growth and maturation. Finally, we highlight the significance of these mechanisms for two different types of neurovascular CNS disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / physiology
  • Brain Diseases / metabolism
  • Brain Diseases / pathology
  • Central Nervous System / blood supply
  • Central Nervous System / growth & development*
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Neuropilins / metabolism
  • Retina / growth & development
  • Retina / physiology
  • Rhombencephalon / blood supply
  • Rhombencephalon / growth & development
  • Semaphorins / metabolism
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism


  • Neuropilins
  • Semaphorins
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A