Wnt/frizzled Signaling in Endothelium: A Major Player in Blood-Retinal- and Blood-Brain-Barrier Integrity

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2022 May 17;12(4):a041219. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a041219.


The Wnt/frizzled signaling pathway is one of the major regulators of endothelial biology, controlling key cellular activities. Many secreted Wnt ligands have been identified and can initiate diverse signaling via binding to a complex set of Frizzled (Fzd) transmembrane receptors and coreceptors. Roughly, Wnt signaling is subdivided into two pathways: the canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway whose main downstream effector is the transcriptional coactivator β-catenin, and the noncanonical Wnt signaling pathway, which is subdivided into the Wnt/Ca2+ pathway and the planar cell polarity pathway. Here, we will focus on its cross talk with other angiogenic pathways and on its role in blood-retinal- and blood-brain-barrier formation and its maintenance in a differentiated state. We will unravel how retinal vascular pathologies and neurovascular degenerative diseases result from disruption of the Wnt pathway related to vascular instability, and highlight current research into therapeutic options.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Blood-Brain Barrier*
  • Endothelium
  • Frizzled Receptors
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Wnt Signaling Pathway*


  • Frizzled Receptors
  • Ligands