The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 54: 567 - 572 (2010)

Vol 54, Issue 4

The seminal work of Werner Risau in the study of the development of the vascular system

Essay | Published: 29 January 2010

Domenico Ribatti

Department of Human Anatomy and Histology, University of Bari Medical School, Bari, Italy


Werner Risau’s work had a decisive impact on defining the overall nature of neovascularization processes during development and had the capability to integrate different directions in the field of endothelial cell biology research. In particular, he had a special interest in understanding the development, differentiation and maintenance of the blood-brain barrier. Risau very successfully propagated the concept that the same factors, such as basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which are essential for the formation of blood vessels during embryonic development, also influence pathological angiogenesis during tumor growth. This review is dedicated to a retrospective analysis of the most important contributions of Risau’s work in the field of angiogenesis during embryonic development and in post-natal life, in both physiological and pathological conditions.


angiogenesis, blood-brain barrier, history of medicine, vascular endothelial growth factor

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