Embryonic angiogenesis: a review

Naturwissenschaften. 1996 Apr;83(4):153-64. doi: 10.1007/BF01143056.


Supply with nutrients is essential from early embryonic stages onwards. Therefore, circulatory organs form the first functioning organ system. With the exception of the heart, this system is at first formed by only one cell type, the endothelial cell. Emergence, behavior, and differentiation of endothelial cells are discussed in this review. At first, endothelial cells develop from angioblasts (primary angiogenesis/angioblastic development), later they develop from preexisting endothelial cells (secondary angiogenesis/angiotrophic growth). The composition of the extracellular matrix may promote or inhibit angiogenesis. Various growth factors which can be bound to the extracellular matrix may have been found, but only two of them (VEGF, P1GF) seem to influence endothelial cell behavior directly. Heterogeneity and organ-typical differentiation of endothelial cells seem to be dependent on cell-cell signaling within each organ.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inducing Agents / physiology
  • Animals
  • Blood Vessels / embryology*
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development*
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / physiology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / embryology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lymphokines / physiology
  • Models, Cardiovascular
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors


  • Angiogenesis Inducing Agents
  • Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Lymphokines
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors