Angiogenesis is de novo capillary outgrowth from pre-existing blood vessels. This process not only is crucial for normal development, but also has an important role in supplying oxygen and nutrients to inflamed tissues, as well as in facilitating the migration of inflammatory cells to the synovium in rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthritis and other systemic autoimmune diseases. Neovascularization is dependent on the balance of proangiogenic and antiangiogenic mediators, including growth factors, cytokines, chemokines, cell adhesion molecules and matrix metalloproteinases. This Review describes the various intracellular signalling pathways that govern these angiogenic processes and discusses potential approaches to interfere with pathological angiogenesis, and thereby ameliorate inflammatory disease, by targeting these pathways.
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