Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF or VEGF-A), also known as vascular permeability factor (VPF), is a potent mediator of angiogenesis and vascular permeability in both fetuses and adults. Structurally, it is a homodimeric heparin-binding glycoprotein with a molecular weight of 34 to 45 kilodaltons. VEGF is produced by multiple types of cells and tissues including skeletal muscle and myocardium, hepatocytes, osteoblasts, neutrophils and macrophages of blood, keratinocytes, brown adipose cells, CD34+, endothelial cells, fibroblasts and smooth muscle cells of the vessels. Expression of VEGF in these cells is induced by hypoxia and certain cytokines such as IL-1, IL-6, IL-8, oncostatin M and TNF-α.
VEGF plays an important role in several physiological processes, including the creation of vessels during embryogenesis, wound healing, ovulation, menstruation, maintenance of blood pressure and pregnancy.
VEGF has also been associated with various pathological processes that include angiogenesis, such as arthritis, psoriasis, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. In general, the growth and spread of tumors has been shown to depend on the development of increased vascular proximity to the tumor to provide adequate oxygenation of the cancer cells. In pathological tissues, VEGF increases vascular permeability.
Thus, VEGF is thought to contribute to tumor metastasis by promoting both angiogenesis and the hematogenous dispersion of cancer cells. Increased expression of VEGF has been associated with poorer prognosis in patients with colorectal cancer, stomach, pancreas, breast, ovarian, prostate and liver cancer, carcinoma of the oral epithelial cells and in melanoma.
VEGF has also been associated with autoimmune disease activity such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus erythematosus.
Serum VEGF levels are higher than plasma levels. This is thought to reflect the fact that VEGF is released into the plasma by platelets as part of the thrombotic process. It has been hypothesized that VEGF released from activated platelets may play a role in angiogenesis during wound healing.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.