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Molecular Polarity in Endothelial Cells and Tumor-Induced Angiogenesis

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Endothelial cells expose receptors for vascular endothelial growth factor/vascular permeability factor (VEGF/VPF) at the abluminal, basal surface that work as basic regulators of tumor-induced angiogenesis. Their specific localization makes them susceptible to the activity of tumor-released stimulatory factors, like VEGF/VPF, which induce proliferation of the endothelial cell toward the extracellular matrix. At the same time, VEGF/VPF stimulates endothelial cells to expose tissue factor (TF), the high-affinity transmembrane receptor and cofactor for cellular initiation of the plasma coagulation protease cascades through the extrinsic pathway, so generating thrombin. Thrombin exerts a number of activities: it forms an extracellular fibrin barrier from the VEGF/VPF-dependent fibrinogen extravasation; it activates progelatinase-A (proMMP-2), which destroys the basal membrane, allowing proliferation of endothelial cells (ECs) in the novel tumoral fibrin matrix; finally, it induces EC proliferation, potentiating the VEGF effect. Another important factor exposed at the abluminal endothelial cell surface is membrane type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP), a membrane-bound metalloproteinase, which also activates progelatinase-A, allowing an alternative pathway to that of thrombin to destroy the basal membrane. In addition, we will see that MT1-MMP is also engaged in a direct, cell-associated fibrinolytic activity, essential for tubulogenesis of the novel outsprouting capillary.

Keywords: Angiogenesis; Key words: Endothelial cell polarity

Document Type: Miscellaneous


Affiliations: Department of Pathology and Experimental Oncology, University of Firenze, Firenze, Italy

Publication date: 2001-01-01

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