VEGF-B: A survival, or an angiogenic factor?

Xuri Li, Chunsik Lee, Zhongshu Tang, Fan Zhang, Pachiappan Arjunan, Yang Li, Xu Hou, Anil Kumar, Lijin Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Despite its early discovery and high sequence homology to the other VEGF family members, the biological function of VEGF-B remained debatable for a long time, and VEGF-B has received little attention from the field thus far. Recently, we and others have found that (1) VEGF-B is a potent survival factor for different types of cells by inhibiting apoptosis via suppressing the expression of BH3-only protein and other apoptotic/cell death-related genes. (2) VEGF-B has a negligible role in inducing blood vessel growth in most organs. Instead, it is critically required for blood vessel survival. VEGF-B targeting inhibited pathological angiogenesis by abolishing blood vessel survival in different animal models. (3) Using different types of neuro-injury and neurodegenerative disease models, VEGF-B treatment protected endangered neurons from apoptosis without inducing undesired blood vessel growth or permeability. Thus, VEGF-B is the first member of the VEGF family that has a potent survival/antiapoptotic effect, while lacking a general angiogenic activity. Our work thus advocates that the major function of VEGF-B is to act as a "survival", rather than an "angiogenic" factor, and implicates a therapeutic potential of VEGF-B in treating different types of vascular and neurodegenerative diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCell Adhesion and Migration
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009


  • Angiogenesis
  • Apoptosis
  • Survival factor
  • VEGF-B
  • Vascular biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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