Angiogenesis and its potential role in the growth and proliferation of pathogens

Brownyn Lok a, Amin Malik Shah Abdul Majid a, b*, Aman Shah Abdul Majid c


a EMAN Research and Testing Laboratory, Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia.

b ACRF Department of Cancer Biology and Therapeutics, The John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

c Centre for Natural Product and Angiogenesis Research, Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Quest International University, Perak, Malaysia.

*Corresponding Author. E-mail:


Angiotherapy, 2017, 1, 001–011 (Received 19 feb 2017, Published 30 April 2017)


Citation: Lok, Bronwyn; Abdul Majid, AMS ; Majid, ASA. (2017). Angiogenesis and Its Potential Role in the Growth and Proliferation of Pathogens. Angiotherapy, 1(1), pages 001–011.



Angiogenesis is an important physiological process by which new blood vessels form from pre-existing vessels. Other than being an important physiological process in embryo development, wound healing, and in response to ovulation (Adair and Montani, 2010a), it also contributes to the pathology of a number of diseases. Several pathogens, including bacteria, mycobacteria, and viruses, induce angiogenesis during their infection and their pathogenesis within the human body. The excessive angiogenesis induced by the infection of these pathogens usually contributes to the seriousness of the disease. Several bacteria of the Bartonella genus induce angiogenesis during their infection of the human body, as well as Helicobacter pylori and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Viruses such as the hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), and orf virus also triggers angiogenesis during their infection. The principal mode of angiogenesis activation is via the stimulation of inflammatory mediators that lead to the increase of VEGF, which is the primary signalling molecule for angiogenesis activation. An increased level of VEGF in the plasma is common in a number of pathogen-induced diseases. The state of hypoxia that resulted from infections activates HIF-1, a transcription factor for VEGF expression (Forsythe et al., 1996). Other important angiogenesis mediators that were activated during pathogenesis include cytokines like IL-6 and -8, angiogenins, as well as the matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs).  Hence, targeting angiogenesis may have a potential therapeutic value in treating or managing pathogen infection.


Keywords: angiogenesis, HIF-1, Bartonella, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, hepatitis, herpesvirus, orf, Helicobacter pylori