Microsc Res Tech 2003 Jan;60(1):13-22
Medicity Research Laboratory, University of Turku, FIN-20520 Turku, Finland.
Dynamic interactions between endothelial cells and components of their surrounding extracellular matrix are necessary for the invasion, migration, and survival of endothelial cells during angiogenesis. These interactions are mediated by matrix receptors that initiate intracellular signaling cascades in response to binding to specific extracellular matrix molecules. The interactions between endothelial cells and their environment are also modulated by enzymes that degrade different matrix components and thus enable endothelial invasion. Recent reports on gene targeting in mice have confirmed the role of two classes of matrix receptors, integrins and cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans, and a group of matrix degrading proteolytic enzymes, matrix metalloproteinases, in angiogenesis. The significance of endothelial cell-matrix interactions is further supported by several ongoing clinical trials that analyze the effects of drugs blocking this interaction on angiogenesis-dependent growth of human tumors.