Many growth factors and their protein kinase receptors play a role in regulating vascular development. In addition, cell adhesion molecules, such as integrins and their ligands in the extracellular matrix, play important roles in the adhesion, migration, proliferation, survival and differentiation of the cells that form the vasculature. Some integrins are known to be regulated by angiogenic growth factors and studies with inhibitors of integrin functions and using strains of mice lacking specific integrins clearly implicate some of these molecules in vasculogenesis and angiogenesis. However, the data are incomplete and sometimes discordant and it is unclear how angiogenic growth factors and integrin-mediated adhesive events cooperate in the diverse cell biological processes involved in forming the vasculature. Consideration of the results suggests working hypotheses and raises questions for future research directions
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