The mechanism of neovascularization during the proliferative phase of infantile hemangioma is poorly understood. It is known that circulating bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) form new blood vessels in ischemic tissues using mediators regulated by the transcription factor, HIF-1alpha. Mobilization of EPCs is enhanced by VEGF-A, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9, and estrogen, whereas homing is secondary to localized expression of stromal cell-derived factor-1alpha (SDF-1alpha). We examined whether these mediators of EPC trafficking are upregulated during the proliferation of infantile hemangioma.
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