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Vasculogenesis is the process of blood vessel formation in the embryo, occurring by a de novo production of endothelial cells.[1] It is sometimes paired with angiogenesis,[2] as the first stage of the formation of the vascular network, closely followed by angiogenesis.[3]


In the sense distinguished from angiogenesis, vasculogenesis is different in one aspect: whereas angiogenesis is the formation of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones, vasculogenesis is the formation of new blood vessels, in blood islands, when there are no pre-existing ones.[4] For example, if a monolayer of endothelial cells begins sprouting to form capillaries, angiogenesis is occurring. Vasculogenesis, in contrast, is when endothelial precursor cells (angioblasts) migrate and differentiate in response to local cues (such as growth factors and extracellular matrices) to form new blood vessels. These vascular trees are then pruned and extended through angiogenesis.


Vasculogenesis occurs during embryologic development of the circulatory system. Specifically, around blood islands, which first arise in the mesoderm of the yolk sac at 3 weeks of development.[5]

Vasculogenesis can also occur in the adult organism from circulating endothelial progenitor cells (derivatives of stem cells) able to contribute, albeit to varying degrees, to neovascularization. Examples of where vasculogenesis can occur in adults are:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ John S. Penn (2008). Retinal and Choroidal Angiogenesis. Springer. p. 119. ISBN 978-1-4020-6779-2.
  2. ^ Dorland's illustrated medical dictionary (32nd ed.). Saunders/Elsevier. p. 84. ISBN 9781416062578.
  3. ^ Patan, S (2004). "Vasculogenesis and angiogenesis". Cancer Treatment and Research. 117: 3–32. doi:10.1007/978-1-4419-8871-3_1. ISBN 978-1-4613-4699-9. PMID 15015550.
  4. ^ "Endoderm -- Developmental Biology -- NCBI Bookshelf". Retrieved 7 April 2010.
  5. ^ Sadler, T.W. (2011). Medical Embryology, 12th. LWW. p. 75.
  6. ^ Laschke, M. W.; Giebels, C.; Menger, M. D. (2011). "Vasculogenesis: A new piece of the endometriosis puzzle". Human Reproduction Update. 17 (5): 628–636. doi:10.1093/humupd/dmr023. PMID 21586449.