Angiogenesis, the process of new blood vessel formation from existing blood vessels, is a key aspect of virtually every repair process. During wound healing an extensive, but immature and leaky vascular plexus forms which is subsequently reduced by regression of non-functional vessels. More recent studies indicate that uncontrolled vessel growth or impaired vessel regression as a consequence of an excessive inflammatory response can impair wound healing, resulting in scarring and dysfunction. However, in order to elucidate targetable factors to promote functional tissue regeneration we need to understand the molecular and cellular underpinnings of physiological angiogenesis, ranging from induction to resolution of blood vessels. Especially for avascular tissues (e.g. cornea, tendon, ligament, cartilage, etc.), limiting rather than boosting vessel growth during wound repair potentially is beneficial to restore full tissue function and may result in favourable long-term healing outcomes.
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