Vascular endothelial growth factor is an angiogenic factor in vivo and in vitro that plays a crucial role in the control of blood vessel development and in pathological angiogenesis. The vascularized extraembryonic membranes of the chick embryo include the area vasculosa and the chorioallantoic membrane. In this study, we investigated the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor and of its receptor-2, specifically expressed by the endothelial cells, in the chick area vasculosa at days 6, 10 and 14 of incubation. Our results indicate that, in all the three developmental stages examined, vascular endothelial growth factor is clearly expressed in the endodermal cells immediately adjacent to the mesodermal endothelial cells which, in turn, expressed vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2. These observations suggest that during the development of the vascular system, endodermal cells, expressing vascular endothelial growth factor, initiate angiogenesis by stimulating directly mesodermal cells, which express vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2. Moreover, our data demonstrate that vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 expression is also maintained by endothelial cells in the later stages of development, until day 14 of incubation. In accord with other literature data, this suggests that vascular endothelial growth factor is required not only for proliferation, but also for the survival of endothelial cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology