Vascular permeability factor/vascular endothelial growth factor and the significance of microvascular hyperpermeability in angiogenesis

Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 1999;237:97-132. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-59953-8_6.


This Chapter has reviewed the literature concerning VPF/VEGF as a potent vascular permeabilizing cytokine. In accord with this important role, microvessels have been found to be hyperpermeable to plasma proteins and other circulating macromolecules at sites where VPF/VEGF and its receptors are overexpressed, i.e., in tumors, healing wounds, retinopathies, many important inflammatory conditions and in certain physiological processes, such as ovulation and corpus luteum formation. Moreover, microvascular hyperpermeability to plasma proteins was shown to have an important consequence: the laying down of a fibrin-rich extracellular matrix. This provisional matrix, in turn, favors and supports the ingrowth of fibroblasts and endothelial cells which, together, transform the provisional matrix into the mature stroma characteristic of tumors and healed wounds. Finally, we have considered the pathways by which these and other circulating macromolecules cross the endothelium of normal and VPF/VEGF-permeabilized microvessels. These pathways include VVOs and trans-endothelial openings that have been variously interpreted as inter-endothelial cell gaps or trans-endothelial cell pores. At least some trans-endothelial cell pores may arise from VVOs. In conclusion, these data provide new insights into the mechanisms of angiogenesis and stroma formation, insights which are potentially applicable to a wide variety of disease states and which may lead to identification of new targets for therapeutic intervention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Capillary Permeability / drug effects
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / metabolism
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / pharmacology
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / physiology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Humans
  • Lymphokines / metabolism
  • Lymphokines / pharmacology
  • Lymphokines / physiology*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / drug effects
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Receptors, Growth Factor / metabolism
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Venules / cytology
  • Venules / pathology


  • Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Lymphokines
  • Receptors, Growth Factor
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor