Heart 95:191-197 doi:10.1136/hrt.2007.136119
  • Review

Stimulation of collateral artery growth: travelling further down the road to clinical application

  1. S H Schirmer,
  2. F C van Nooijen,
  3. J J Piek,
  4. N van Royen
  1. Department of Cardiology, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  1. Dr S H Schirmer, Department of Cardiology, Academic Medical Centre, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Stephan.schirmer{at}
  • Accepted 8 January 2008


Collateral artery growth is a potent natural defence mechanism to prevent death and myocardial infarction in occlusive artery disease. Given the high prevalence of arterial obstructive disease, a therapeutic compound stimulating collateral vessel growth could have a major impact on morbidity and mortality world wide. Although experimental studies on the stimulation of arteriogenesis have been promising, not a single drug has been proved to be applicable in clinical practice, either because of lack of efficacy or because of undesired side effects. This review summarises current knowledge on the mechanisms of collateral artery growth and examines problems that arise from the clinical implementation of pro-arteriogenic treatments to date. Future directions in the translation from bench to bedside and potential new approaches to the stimulation of vascular growth are discussed.


  • Funding: This work was supported by a VENI grant by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) to NvR (no 916-66-019), and a grant by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft to SHS (SCHI 1012/1-1).

  • Competing interests: None.