Angiogenesis is central to many physiological and pathological phenomena. In physiological angiogenesis, new vessels are well shaped and their growth is finely tuned to match the metabolic needs of tributary tissues. Accordingly, neovascularization is activated by physical exercise and destabilized by non-use. In contrast, pathological blood vessels that are observed in retinal neovascularization, cancer or in ischemic tissues are leaky, irregularly shaped, and tend to form arterial-venous fistulae. A great deal of attention is focused on new approaches for medical manipulation of vascular growth. These methods are aimed at facilitating the reperfusion of ischemic tissues or eradicating pathological vasculature. In this position paper, we challenge the rationale of therapeutic angiogenesis for the cure of myocardial and peripheral ischemia. Therapeutic angiogenesis aims at combating the insufficiency of, or insensitivity to angiogenic factors in the setting of atherosclerotic-induced arterial occlusion. However, clinical evidence indicates that such a defect is not common among patients with ischemic disease, as a whole. Genetic and environmental factors could account for the great heterogeneity in the expression of the master angiogenic factors. Future improvements in the strategy would require the introduction of in vitro assays and in vivo imaging systems for assessing human angiogenesis. Finally, the promise is to find individualized angiogenesis-based therapies for a genuine cure of ischemia and prevention of organ failure.
- Myocardial and peripheral ischemia
ASJC Scopus subject areas