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Mast cells and angiogenesis: Review article

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Angiogenesis is tightly regulated by pro- and anti-angiogenic factors. Secreting mast cells are able to induce and enhance angiogenesis via multiple in part interacting pathways. They include mast cell-derived (i) potent pro-angiogenic factors such as VEGF, bFGF, TGF-beta, TNF-alpha and IL-8, (ii) proteinases and heparin, that release heparin-binding pro-angiogenic factors lodged on cell surfaces and in the extracellular matrix (ECM), (iii) histamine, VEGF, and certain lipid-derived mediators that induce microvascular hyperpermeability having pro-angiogenic effects, (iv) chemotactic recruitment of monocytes/macrophages and lymphocytes that are able to contribute with angiogenesis-modulating molecules, (v) activation of platelets that release pro-angiogenic factors, (vi) activation of neighboring stationary non-mast cells, which secrete pro-angiogenic factors, ECM-degrading proteinases and stem cell factor which attracts, mitogenically stimulates and activates mast cells, (vii) auto- and paracrine stimulation of mast cells by stem cell factor, (viii) recruitment of mast cells by pro-angiogenic factors such as VEGF, bFGF and TGF-beta. As a result of ECM-degradation and changes in the microenvironment following initial mast cell secretion, the mast cell populations may change significantly in number, phenotype and function. In tumor models, mast cells have been shown to play a decisive role in inducing the angiogenic switch which precedes malignant transformation. There is, moreover, strong evidence that mast cells significantly influence angiogenesis and thus growth and progression in human cancers.
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Keywords: Mast cells; angiogenesis; anti-angiogenic factors; pro-angiogenic factors

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Department of Pathology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden

Publication date: 2002-05-01

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