Angiogenesis is the term used to describe the formation of new blood vessels from the existing vasculature. In order to attract new vessels, a tissue must release an endothelial-cell chemoattractant. 2-Deoxy-d-ribose is produced in vivo by the catalytic action of thymidine phosphorylase (TP) on thymidine and has recently been identified as an endothelial-cell chemoattractant and angiogenesis-inducing factor. TP, previously known only for its role in nucleotide salvage, is now known to be angiogenic. TP expression is elevated in many solid tumours and in chronically inflamed tissues, both known areas of active angiogenesis. There is evidence that TP is also involved in physiological angiogenesis such as endometrial angiogenesis during the menstrual cycle. The majority of known endothelial-cell chemoattractants are polypeptides that bind to endothelial-cell-surface receptors. In contrast, 2-deoxy-d-ribose appears to lack a cell-surface receptor. Glucose is another sugar that acts as an endothelial-cell chemoattractant. The migratory activity of glucose is blocked by ouabain. It is possible that 2-deoxy-d-ribose and glucose stimulate endothelial-cell migration via a similar mechanistic pathway.

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