THE CRITICAL ROLE OF VASCULAR ENDOTHELIAL GROWTH FACTOR IN PULMONARY VASCULAR REMODELING AFTER LUNG INJURY


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Abstract

The pulmonary vascular endothelial cell plays a crucial role in the regulation of the pulmonary vascular tone and in the maintenance of the barrier function and integrity of the alveolar-capillary membrane. It also plays a major role in coagulation, fibrinolysis, and angiogenesis and participates in inflammatory reactions. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a central growth and survival factor for the endothelial cell. Particularly high levels of VEGF are expressed in the lungs, reflecting the critical role of VEGF for lung development and structural integrity of the adult lung. Vascular endothelial growth factor exerts a variety of physiological and pathophysiological actions in the lung. Recent evidence suggests its involvement in the pathogenesis of lung diseases such as bronchopulmonary dysplasia, acute lung injury, emphysema, and pulmonary hypertension. To summarize the critical effects of VEGF on the pulmonary endothelial cell in the pathogenesis of these diseases, the purposes of this review are to (1) discuss the biological activities and intracellular signaling pathways of VEGF in the lung; (2) summarize the regulatory mechanisms involved in VEGF expression; (3)address the effects of VEGF on endothelial cells in hyperoxia-induced and other forms of lung injury; (4) highlight the endothelial effects of VEGF in the pathogenesis of emphysema; and (5) explore the role of VEGF in the pathogenesis of pulmonary arterial hypertension.

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