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Transglutaminase and Vascular Biology: Physiopathologic Implications and Perspectives for Therapeutic Interventions

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Consistent clinical and experimental evidence points to the involvement of two enzymatic systems (the matrix metalloproteinases-MMPs and the protein crosslinking enzymes transglutaminases) in prominent physiologic roles of endothelium in the maintenance of vascular wall integrity, regulation of blood flow and clotting, and exchange of molecules and cells between the extra- and the intravascular space. These issues are briefly discussed in relation to differentiation of the endothelium within the vascular system, mechanisms of molecular regulation and the effects of their disruption in pathology.

While the roles of MMPs are now understood in detail and represent a promising target for pharmacological interventions, much less is known on the roles of transglutaminases in vascular biology. These last enzymes are expressed at extremely high levels in endothelial cells and are involved in cell matrix interactions important to angiogenesis and apoptosis/cell death of endothelial cells, in the control of blood clotting and and in the transfer of molecules and cells across the vascular walls. On the clinical side, these properties are relevant in vascular inflammatory processes, atherosclerosis and tumor metastasis. We summarise the large body of evidence available in this perspective and discuss its implications for the development of new therapeutic strategies.
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Keywords: atherosclerosis; endothelium; extracellular matrix; transglutaminases; tumor metastasis

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Ferrara, Via Borsari 46, 44100 Ferrara, Italy.

Publication date: 01 September 2005

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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