Role in Disease Processes

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VEGF has an effect on a variety of physiological and pathological biological processes including embryogenesis, normal growth and differentiation, wound healing, tumor growth, ocular neovascular disease, myocardial ischemia, and chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and periodontal disease.

VEGF mRNA is significantly upregulated in the majority of human tumors such as lung carcinomas, thyroid carcinomas, breast carcinomas, gastrointestinal tract tumors, urinary tract tumors, female reproductive tract tumors, germ cell tumors, angiosarcoma, and some intracranial tumors. Postoperative surgeries have indicated that the relapse-free survival rate of patients with VEGF-rich tumors is significantly lower than that of VEGF-poor tumors. Patients with VEGF-positive tumors have a worse prognosis than those with VEGF-negative tumors.

Diabetes mellitus or occlusion of central retinal vein can be associated with intraocular neovascularization. The new blood vessels may lead to vitreous hemorrhage, retinal detachment, neovascular glaucoma, and eventual blindness. VEGF is a possible candidate for a mediator of intraocular neovascularization. Increases in VEGF levels in the aqueous and vitreous of eyes with proliferative retinopathy have been observed. VEGF is also involved in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The RA synovium is characterized by the formation of pannus, an extensively vascular-ized tissue that invades and destroys the articular cartilage.

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