The kidney is permeated by a highly complex vascular system with glomerular and peritubular capillary networks that are essential for maintaining the normal functions of glomerular and tubular epithelial cells. The integrity of the renal vascular network depends on a balance of proangiogenic and antiangiogenic factors, and disruption of this balance has been identified in various kidney diseases. Decreased levels of the predominant proangiogenic factor, vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA), can result in glomerular microangiopathy and contribute to the onset of preeclampsia, whereas upregulation of VEGFA has roles in diabetic kidney disease (DKD) and polycystic kidney disease (PKD). Other factors that regulate angiogenesis, such as angiopoietin 1 and vasohibin 1, have been shown to be protective in animal models of DKD and renal fibrosis. The renal lymphatic system is important for fluid homeostasis in the kidney, as well as the transport of immune cells and antigens. Experimental studies suggest that the lymphangiogenic factor VEGFC might have protective effects in PKD, DKD and renal fibrosis. Understanding the physiological and pathological roles of factors that regulate angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis in the kidney has led to the development of novel therapeutic strategies for kidney diseases.
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