PROBLEM: The demand for increased angiogenesis and microvascular permeability during cyclical changes in the endometrium and during placentation raises the possibility that aberrations in these events could lead to suboptimal reproductive performance. However, relatively little is presently known regarding the regulation of vascular growth and permeability in these tissues.
METHOD OF STUDY: This review of current literature focuses on the expression, regulation, and potential physiological effects of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) within endometrial and placental tissue.
RESULTS: Spatial and temporal expression of VEGF as well as its restricted specificity, essential role in vasculogenesis/angiogenesis, and ability to induce vascular permeability makes VEGF an attractive regulator of vascular growth and permeability in the endometrium and placenta.
CONCLUSION: A better understanding of the production, regulation, and physiological responses of the vasculature to angiogenic growth factors may lead to new therapeutic strategies for reproductive disturbances secondary to vascular insufficiencies within the female reproductive tract.