Neurogenic angiogenesis and inflammation

  • Paul L. Mapp
  • David A. Walsh
Part of the Progress in Inflammation Research book series (PIR)


Blood vessels can be formed through two different mechanisms: vasculogenesis or angiogenesis [1]. The first mechanism is dependent on the development of blood vessels from immature mesenchymal cells, and has been traditionally thought to be restricted to the early stages of embryo development. Angiogenesis is the sprouting of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones. This may occur physiologically during the female reproductive cycle or pathologically during tumour growth, diabetic retinopathy and chronic inflammation. It may be beneficial, for example during wound repair, or detrimental, for example in tumours or retinopathies. One of the regulators that may control angiogenesis is the nervous system. Neuropeptides are known to have angiogenic effects in vitro and in vivo. Neuropeptides are released in acute inflammatory responses but their role during chronic inflammation is much less certain. There appears to be a depletion of nerves in tissues as they become chronically inflamed. This may be related to the inability of nerves to grow at the same rate as proliferating tissue or due to a direct toxic effect of one or more components of the inflammatory milieu. Under such conditions we postulate that other peptides may take over the angiogenic roles of neuronally derived peptides, sometimes utilising the same receptors on endothelial cells. As well as promoters of angiogenesis, there is also a group of neuropeptides that are becoming increasingly recognised as being anti-angiogenic. Peptides released from the peripheral terminals of nerves may therefore either facilitate or suppress tissue growth.


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel/Switzerland 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul L. Mapp
    • 1
  • David A. Walsh
    • 1
  1. 1.Academic Rheumatology, University of Nottingham, Clinical Sciences BuildingNottingham City HospitalNottinghamUK

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