Dysfunction in the cardiovascular system can lead to the progression of a number of disease entities that can involve cancer, diabetes, cardiac ischaemia, neurodegeneration and immune system dysfunction. In order for new therapeutic avenues to overcome some of the limitations of present clinical treatments for these disorders, future investigations must focus upon novel cellular processes that control cellular development, proliferation, metabolism and inflammation. In this respect, members of the mammalian forkhead transcription factors of the O class (FoxOs) have increasingly become recognized as important and exciting targets for disorders of the cardiovascular system. In the present review, we describe the role of these transcription factors in the cardiovascular system during processes that involve angiogenesis, cardiovascular development, hypertension, cellular metabolism, oxidative stress, stem cell proliferation, immune system regulation and cancer. Current knowledge of FoxO protein function combined with future studies should continue to lay the foundation for the successful translation of these transcription factors into novel and robust clinical therapies.

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