Autocrine VEGF Signaling Is Required for Vascular Homeostasis

Sunyoung Lee, Tom T. Chen, Chad L. Barber, Maria C. Jordan, Jared Murdock, Sharina Desai, Napoleone Ferrara, Andras Nagy, Kenneth P. Roos, M. Luisa Iruela-Arispe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

732 Citations (Scopus)


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is essential for developmental and pathological angiogenesis. Here we show that in the absence of any pathological insult, autocrine VEGF is required for the homeostasis of blood vessels in the adult. Genetic deletion of vegf specifically in the endothelial lineage leads to progressive endothelial degeneration and sudden death in 55% of mutant mice by 25 weeks of age. The phenotype is manifested without detectable changes in the total levels of VEGF mRNA or protein, indicating that paracrine VEGF could not compensate for the absence of endothelial VEGF. Furthermore, wild-type, but not VEGF null, endothelial cells showed phosphorylation of VEGFR2 in the absence of exogenous VEGF. Activation of the receptor in wild-type cells was suppressed by small molecule antagonists but not by extracellular blockade of VEGF. These results reveal a cell-autonomous VEGF signaling pathway that holds significance for vascular homeostasis but is dispensable for the angiogenic cascade.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)691-703
Number of pages13
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes



Cite this