Blocking VEGFR-3 suppresses angiogenic sprouting and vascular network formation
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Nature 454 (7204): 656-660 (2008)

Angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing vasculature, is a key process in several pathological conditions, including tumour growth and age-related macular degeneration. Vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs) stimulate angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis by activating VEGF receptor (VEGFR) tyrosine kinases in endothelial cells. VEGFR-3 (also known as FLT-4) is present in all endothelia during development, and in the adult it becomes restricted to the lymphatic endothelium. However, VEGFR-3 is upregulated in the microvasculature of tumours and wounds. Here we demonstrate that VEGFR-3 is highly expressed in angiogenic sprouts, and genetic targeting of VEGFR-3 or blocking of VEGFR-3 signalling with monoclonal antibodies results in decreased sprouting, vascular density, vessel branching and endothelial cell proliferation in mouse angiogenesis models. Stimulation of VEGFR-3 augmented VEGF-induced angiogenesis and sustained angiogenesis even in the presence of VEGFR
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