Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor and Angiogenesis in the Regulation of Cutaneous Wound Repair

Adv Wound Care (New Rochelle). 2014 Oct 1;3(10):647-661. doi: 10.1089/wound.2013.0517.


Significance: Angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels from existing vessels, is an important aspect of the repair process. Restoration of blood flow to damaged tissues provides oxygen and nutrients required to support the growth and function of reparative cells. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is one of the most potent proangiogenic growth factors in the skin, and the amount of VEGF present in a wound can significantly impact healing. Recent Advances: The activity of VEGF was once considered to be specific for endothelial cells lining the inside of blood vessels, partly because VEGF receptor (VEGFR) expression was believed to be restricted to endothelial cells. It is now known, however, that VEGFRs can be expressed by a variety of other cell types involved in wound repair. For example, keratinocytes and macrophages, which both carry out important functions during wound healing, express VEGFRs and are capable of responding directly to VEGF. Critical Issues: The mechanisms by which VEGF promotes angiogenesis are well established. Recent studies, however, indicate that VEGF can directly affect the activity of several nonendothelial cell types present in the skin. The implications of these extra-angiogenic effects of VEGF on wound repair are not yet known, but they suggest that this growth factor may play a more complex role during wound healing than previously believed. Future Directions: Despite the large number of studies focusing on VEGF and wound healing, it is clear that the current knowledge of how VEGF contributes to the repair of skin wounds is incomplete. Further research is needed to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of VEGF activities during the wound healing process.

Publication types

  • Review