Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF)

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is an extracellular signaling molecule and the major contributor of angiogenesis. Binding of VEGF to its receptor VEGFR activates endothelial cells and thus blood vessel growth (Figure 1). Activation of endothelial cells by VEGF leads, among others, to the induction of the following processes:

  • increased mitosis of endothelial cells
  • increased migration of endothelial cells
  • increased permeability of endothelial cells

VEGF is a small molecule of around 38 kDa compared to VEGFR, which is much larger in size, around 150 kDa.

Red sphere named VEGF is attached to green chalice-like structure called V E G R Receptor. The sphere fits inside the cup of the chalice, whereas the leg goes through a grey, bent line named endothelial cell. Arrow points down from the leg of the chalice to Blood vessel growth sign.

Figure 1: Induction of blood vessel growth through VEGFR activation