Int. J. Dev. Biol. 55: 365 - 375 (2011)
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.103214ec
© UPV/EHU Press

The role of angiogenic growth factors in organogenesis

Enrico Crivellato*

Department of Medical and Morphological Research, Anatomy Section, University of Udine, Italy

ABSTRACT Angiogenic growth factors are a class of molecules which exert a fundamental role in the process of blood vessel formation. Besides vasculogenic and angiogenic properties, these compounds mediate a complex series of patterning activities during organogenesis. Angiogenic factors cooperate in the growth and development of embryo tissues in a cross-talk between endothelial cells and tissue cells. It is well established that many tissue-derived factors are involved in blood vessel formation, but there is now emerging evidence that angiogenic factors and endothelial cells themselves represent a crucial source of instructive signals to non-vascular tissue cells during organ development. Thus, angiogenic factors and endothelial cell signalling are currently believed to provide fundamental cues for cell fate specification, embryo patterning, organ differentiation and postnatal tissue remodelling. This review article will summarize some of the recent advances in our understanding of the role of angiogenic factors and endothelial cells as effectors in organ formation.


angiogenic factor, endothelial cell, vasculogenesis, angiogenesis, signalling pathway, organ formation

*Corresponding author e-mail: