Blood vessels play a pivotal role in transporting nutrients and removing wastes. New vessel formation from pre-existing blood vessels, termed angiogenesis, is observed under physiological conditions such as embryonic development, wound healing, and during female reproductive cycle. Thus, angiogenesis allows organisms to maintain normal and adaptive functions. However, robust angiogenesis has been linked to pathological processes. Due to its fundamental impact on normal and disease development, angiogenesis is attracting the interests of both scientists and clinicians. This review will highlight the advances of pathological angiogenesis and potential therapeutic approaches. In particular, we will focus on an emerging signaling pathway, Rho-associated coiled-coil forming kinase (ROCK), which has been implicated in pathological angiogenesis.
Keywords: Age-related macular degeneration, angiogenesis, angiopoietin, cancer, endothelial cells, fibroblast growth factor, hypoxia inducible factor, microRNAs, Rho kinase inhibitor, Rho-kinase, stem cells, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor, vascular endothelial growth factor, vascular normalization