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The molecular mechanisms underlying new blood vessel growth currently are being investigated in several laboratories. Angiogenesis or neovascularization has been implicated in various unrelated disease processes, such as retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), diabetic retinopathy, choroidal neovascularization, macular degeneration, and tumor angiogenesis. On the other hand, growth of new blood vessels is desired and beneficial in wound healing and myocardial and limb ischemia. All of these unrelated conditions likely share several common mechanisms in the final pathway that culminates in angiogenesis. Identification of a number of growth factors along with the ability to manipulate the mouse embryo genetically has resulted in increased understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating angiogenesis. This review summarizes current knowledge of the factors regulating new blood vessel growth and its relevance to retinal neovascularization in preterm infants.

The outer layers of the retina are supplied by the choroid...

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