Mechanisms of endothelial cell migration

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2014 Nov;71(21):4131-48. doi: 10.1007/s00018-014-1678-0. Epub 2014 Jul 20.


Cell migration plays a central role in a variety of physiological and pathological processes during our whole life. Cellular movement is a complex, tightly regulated multistep process. Although the principle mechanisms of migration follow a defined general motility cycle, the cell type and the context of moving influences the detailed mode of migration. Endothelial cells migrate during vasculogenesis and angiogenesis but also in a damaged vessel to restore vessel integrity. Depending on the situation they migrate individually, in chains or sheets and complex signaling, intercellular signals as well as environmental cues modulate the process. Here, the different modes of cell migration, the peculiarities of endothelial cell migration and specific guidance molecules controlling this process will be reviewed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Vessels / physiopathology
  • Cell Movement*
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology*
  • Ephrins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic
  • Nerve Growth Factors / metabolism
  • Netrin-1
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Semaphorins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Wound Healing


  • Ephrins
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Semaphorins
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Netrin-1