Reactive oxygen species as mediators of angiogenesis signaling. Role of NAD(P)H oxidase

Masuko Fukai, R. Wayne Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

404 Scopus citations


Angiogenesis, a process of new blood vessel growth, contributes to various pathophysiologies such as cancer, diabetic retinopathy and atherosclerosis. Accumulating evidence suggests that cardiovascular diseases are associated with increased oxidative stress in blood vessels. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as superoxide and H2O2 cause blood vessels to thicken, produce inflammation in the vessel wall, and thus are regarded as "risk factors" for vascular disease, whereas ROS also act as signaling molecules in many aspects of growth factor-mediated physiological responses. Recent reports suggest that ROS play an important role in angiogenesis; however, its underlying molecular mechanisms remain unknown. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) induces angiogenesis by stimulating endothelial cell (EC) proliferation and migration primarily through the receptor tyrosine kinase VEGF receptor2 (Flk1/KDR). VEGF binding initiates tyrosine phosphorylation of KDR, which results in activation of downstream signaling enzymes including ERK1/2, Akt and eNOS, which contribute to angiogenic-related responses in EC. Importantly, the major source of ROS in EC is a NAD(P)H oxidase and EC express all the components of phagocytic NAD(P)H oxidase including gp91phox, p22phox, p47phox, p67phox and the small G protein Rac1. We have recently demonstrated that ROS derived from NAD(P)H oxidase are critically important for VEGF signaling in vitro and angiogenesis in vivo. Furthermore, a peptide hormone, angiotensin II, a major stimulus for vascular NAD(P)H oxidase, also plays an important role in angiogenesis. Because EC migration and proliferation are primary features of the process of myocardial angiogenesis, we would like to focus on the recent progress that has been made in the emerging area of NAD(P)H oxidase-derived ROS-dependent signaling in ECs, and discuss the possible roles in angiogenesis. Understanding these mechanisms may provide insight into the components of NAD(P)H oxidase as potential therapeutic targets for treatment of angiogenesis-dependent diseases such as cancer and atherosclerosis and for promoting myocardial angiogenesis in ischemic heart diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-97
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Angiogenesis
  • Angiotensin II
  • Endothelial cells
  • NAD(P)H oxidase
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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