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Special Issue "Extracellular Matrix in Development and Disease"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Pathology, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 August 2018).

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A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Julia Thom Oxford
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biological Sciences, Boise State University, Boise, ID 83725, USA
Interests: extracellular matrix; minor fibrillar collagens; vertebrate skeletal development; protein structure-function; cardiovascular extracellular matrix; cancer progression; rare diseases; zebrafish development
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Extracellular matrix in development and disease. This Special Issue will deal with molecular and cellular aspects of the role of extracellular matrix in development and disease. Cells exist in three-dimensional scaffolding called the extracellular matrix. The matrix holds together the millions of cells that make up our blood vessels, organs, skin, and all tissues of the body. The matrix serves as a reservoir of signaling molecules as well. In bacterial cultures, biofilms form as an extracellular matrix and play essential roles in disease and drug resistance. Topics such as matrix structure and function, cell attachment and cell surface proteins mediating cell-matrix interactions; synthesis, regulation, composition, structure, assembly, remodeling, and function of the matrix are included.

A common thread uniting the topics is the essential nature that the matrix plays in normal development and pathophysiology. Providing new knowledge will lead us to improved diagnostics, preventions to disease progression, and therapeutic strategies for repair and regeneration of tissues.

Prof. Dr. Julia Thom Oxford
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • extracellular matrix
  • collagen
  • biofilm
  • embryonic development
  • degenerative disease
  • fibrosis
  • tissue engineering

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Published Papers (19 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Extracellular Matrix in Development and Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(1), 205; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20010205 - 08 Jan 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The evolution of multicellular metazoan organisms was marked by the inclusion of an extracellular matrix (ECM), a multicomponent, proteinaceous network between cells that contributes to the spatial arrangement of cells and the resulting tissue organization. [...] Full article

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Porcine Breast Extracellular Matrix Hydrogel for Spatial Tissue Culture
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(10), 2912; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19102912 - 25 Sep 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Porcine mammary fatty tissues represent an abundant source of natural biomaterial for generation of breast-specific extracellular matrix (ECM). Here we report the extraction of total ECM proteins from pig breast fatty tissues, the fabrication of hydrogel and porous scaffolds from the extracted ECM [...] Read more.
Porcine mammary fatty tissues represent an abundant source of natural biomaterial for generation of breast-specific extracellular matrix (ECM). Here we report the extraction of total ECM proteins from pig breast fatty tissues, the fabrication of hydrogel and porous scaffolds from the extracted ECM proteins, the structural properties of the scaffolds (tissue matrix scaffold, TMS), and the applications of the hydrogel in human mammary epithelial cell spatial cultures for cell surface receptor expression, metabolomics characterization, acini formation, proliferation, migration between different scaffolding compartments, and in vivo tumor formation. This model system provides an additional option for studying human breast diseases such as breast cancer. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Decellularized Diaphragmatic Muscle Drives a Constructive Angiogenic Response In Vivo
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(5), 1319; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19051319 - 28 Apr 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Skeletal muscle tissue engineering (TE) aims to efficiently repair large congenital and acquired defects. Biological acellular scaffolds are considered a good tool for TE, as decellularization allows structural preservation of tissue extracellular matrix (ECM) and conservation of its unique cytokine reservoir and the [...] Read more.
Skeletal muscle tissue engineering (TE) aims to efficiently repair large congenital and acquired defects. Biological acellular scaffolds are considered a good tool for TE, as decellularization allows structural preservation of tissue extracellular matrix (ECM) and conservation of its unique cytokine reservoir and the ability to support angiogenesis, cell viability, and proliferation. This represents a major advantage compared to synthetic scaffolds, which can acquire these features only after modification and show limited biocompatibility. In this work, we describe the ability of a skeletal muscle acellular scaffold to promote vascularization both ex vivo and in vivo. Specifically, chicken chorioallantoic membrane assay and protein array confirmed the presence of pro-angiogenic molecules in the decellularized tissue such as HGF, VEGF, and SDF-1α. The acellular muscle was implanted in BL6/J mice both subcutaneously and ortotopically. In the first condition, the ECM-derived scaffold appeared vascularized 7 days post-implantation. When the decellularized diaphragm was ortotopically applied, newly formed blood vessels containing CD31+, αSMA+, and vWF+ cells were visible inside the scaffold. Systemic injection of Evans Blue proved function and perfusion of the new vessels, underlying a tissue-regenerative activation. On the contrary, the implantation of a synthetic matrix made of polytetrafluoroethylene used as control was only surrounded by vWF+ cells, with no cell migration inside the scaffold and clear foreign body reaction (giant cells were visible). The molecular profile and the analysis of macrophages confirmed the tendency of the synthetic scaffold to enhance inflammation instead of regeneration. In conclusion, we identified the angiogenic potential of a skeletal muscle-derived acellular scaffold and the pro-regenerative environment activated in vivo, showing clear evidence that the decellularized diaphragm is a suitable candidate for skeletal muscle tissue engineering and regeneration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The ADAMTS5 Metzincin Regulates Zebrafish Somite Differentiation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(3), 766; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19030766 - 07 Mar 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
The ADAMTS5 metzincin, a secreted zinc-dependent metalloproteinase, modulates the extracellular matrix (ECM) during limb morphogenesis and other developmental processes. Here, the role of ADAMTS5 was investigated by knockdown of zebrafish adamts5 during embryogenesis. This revealed impaired Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) signaling during somite patterning [...] Read more.
The ADAMTS5 metzincin, a secreted zinc-dependent metalloproteinase, modulates the extracellular matrix (ECM) during limb morphogenesis and other developmental processes. Here, the role of ADAMTS5 was investigated by knockdown of zebrafish adamts5 during embryogenesis. This revealed impaired Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) signaling during somite patterning and early myogenesis. Notably, synergistic regulation of myod expression by ADAMTS5 and Shh during somite differentiation was observed. These roles were not dependent upon the catalytic activity of ADAMTS5. These data identify a non-enzymatic function for ADAMTS5 in regulating an important cell signaling pathway that impacts on muscle development, with implications for musculoskeletal diseases in which ADAMTS5 and Shh have been associated. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Overexpression of the Vitronectin V10 Subunit in Patients with Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis: Implications for Noninvasive Diagnosis of NASH
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(2), 603; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19020603 - 18 Feb 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is the critical stage of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The persistence of necroinflammatory lesions and fibrogenesis in NASH is the leading cause of liver cirrhosis and, ultimately, hepatocellular carcinoma. To date, the histological examination of liver biopsies, albeit invasive, [...] Read more.
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is the critical stage of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The persistence of necroinflammatory lesions and fibrogenesis in NASH is the leading cause of liver cirrhosis and, ultimately, hepatocellular carcinoma. To date, the histological examination of liver biopsies, albeit invasive, remains the means to distinguish NASH from simple steatosis (NAFL). Therefore, a noninvasive diagnosis by serum biomarkers is eagerly needed. Here, by a proteomic approach, we analysed the soluble low-molecular-weight protein fragments flushed out from the liver tissue of NAFL and NASH patients. On the basis of the assumption that steatohepatitis leads to the remodelling of the liver extracellular matrix (ECM), NASH-specific fragments were in silico analysed for their involvement in the ECM molecular composition. The 10 kDa C-terminal fragment of the ECM protein vitronectin (VTN) was then selected as a promising circulating biomarker in discriminating NASH. The analysis of sera of patients provided these major findings: the circulating VTN fragment (i) is overexpressed in NASH patients and positively correlates with the NASH activity score (NAS); (ii) originates from the disulfide bond reduction between the V10 and the V65 subunits. In conclusion, V10 determination in the serum could represent a reliable tool for the noninvasive discrimination of NASH from simple steatosis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Arginine to Cysteine Mutations in Collagen II on Protein Secretion and Cell Survival
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(2), 541; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19020541 - 11 Feb 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Inherited point mutations in collagen II in humans affecting mainly cartilage are broadly classified as chondrodysplasias. Most mutations occur in the glycine (Gly) of the Gly-X-Y repeats leading to destabilization of the triple helix. Arginine to cysteine substitutions that occur at either the [...] Read more.
Inherited point mutations in collagen II in humans affecting mainly cartilage are broadly classified as chondrodysplasias. Most mutations occur in the glycine (Gly) of the Gly-X-Y repeats leading to destabilization of the triple helix. Arginine to cysteine substitutions that occur at either the X or Y position within the Gly-X-Y cause different phenotypes like Stickler syndrome and congenital spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia (SEDC). We investigated the consequences of arginine to cysteine substitutions (X or Y position within the Gly-X-Y) towards the N and C terminus of the triple helix. Protein expression and its secretion trafficking were analyzed. Substitutions R75C, R134C and R704C did not alter the thermal stability with respect to wild type; R740C and R789C proteins displayed significantly reduced melting temperatures (Tm) affecting thermal stability. Additionally, R740C and R789C were susceptible to proteases; in cell culture, R789C protein was further cleaved by matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) resulting in expression of only a truncated fragment affecting its secretion and intracellular retention. Retention of misfolded R740C and R789C proteins triggered an ER stress response leading to apoptosis of the expressing cells. Arginine to cysteine mutations towards the C-terminus of the triple helix had a deleterious effect, whereas mutations towards the N-terminus of the triple helix (R75C and R134C) and R704C had less impact. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Hyaluronan Production by Renomedullary Interstitial Cells: Influence of Endothelin, Angiotensin II and Vasopressin
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(12), 2701; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18122701 - 13 Dec 2017
Cited by 2
Abstract
The content of hyaluronan (HA) in the interstitium of the renal medulla changes in relation to body hydration status. We investigated if hormones of central importance for body fluid homeostasis affect HA production by renomedullary interstitial cells in culture (RMICs). Simultaneous treatment with [...] Read more.
The content of hyaluronan (HA) in the interstitium of the renal medulla changes in relation to body hydration status. We investigated if hormones of central importance for body fluid homeostasis affect HA production by renomedullary interstitial cells in culture (RMICs). Simultaneous treatment with vasopressin and angiotensin II (Ang II) reduced HA by 69%. No change occurred in the mRNA expressions of hyaluronan synthase 2 (HAS2) or hyaluronidases (Hyals), while Hyal activity in the supernatant increased by 67% and CD44 expression reduced by 42%. The autocoid endothelin (ET-1) at low concentrations (10−10 and 10−8 M) increased HA 3-fold. On the contrary, at a high concentration (10−6 M) ET-1 reduced HA by 47%. The ET-A receptor antagonist BQ123 not only reversed the reducing effect of high ET-1 on HA, but elevated it to the same level as low concentration ET-1, suggesting separate regulating roles for ET-A and ET-B receptors. This was corroborated by the addition of ET-B receptor antagonist BQ788 to low concentration ET-1, which abolished the HA increase. HAS2 and Hyal2 mRNA did not alter, while Hyal1 mRNA was increased at all ET-1 concentrations tested. Hyal activity was elevated the most by high ET-1 concentration, and blockade of ET-A receptors by BQ123 prevented about 30% of this response. The present study demonstrates an important regulatory influence of hormones involved in body fluid balance on HA handling by RMICs, thereby supporting the concept of a dynamic involvement of interstitial HA in renal fluid handling. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Glucocorticoids Improve Myogenic Differentiation In Vitro by Suppressing the Synthesis of Versican, a Transitional Matrix Protein Overexpressed in Dystrophic Skeletal Muscles
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(12), 2629; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18122629 - 06 Dec 2017
Cited by 3
Abstract
In Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a dysregulated extracellular matrix (ECM) directly exacerbates pathology. Glucocorticoids are beneficial therapeutics in DMD, and have pleiotropic effects on the composition and processing of ECM proteins in other biological contexts. The synthesis and remodelling of a transitional versican-rich [...] Read more.
In Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a dysregulated extracellular matrix (ECM) directly exacerbates pathology. Glucocorticoids are beneficial therapeutics in DMD, and have pleiotropic effects on the composition and processing of ECM proteins in other biological contexts. The synthesis and remodelling of a transitional versican-rich matrix is necessary for myogenesis; whether glucocorticoids modulate this transitional matrix is not known. Here, versican expression and processing were examined in hindlimb and diaphragm muscles from mdx dystrophin-deficient mice and C57BL/10 wild type mice. V0/V1 versican (Vcan) mRNA transcripts and protein levels were upregulated in dystrophic compared to wild type muscles, especially in the more severely affected mdx diaphragm. Processed versican (versikine) was detected in wild type and dystrophic muscles, and immunoreactivity was highly associated with newly regenerated myofibres. Glucocorticoids enhanced C2C12 myoblast fusion by modulating the expression of genes regulating transitional matrix synthesis and processing. Specifically, Tgfβ1, Vcan and hyaluronan synthase-2 (Has2) mRNA transcripts were decreased by 50% and Adamts1 mRNA transcripts were increased three-fold by glucocorticoid treatment. The addition of exogenous versican impaired myoblast fusion, whilst glucocorticoids alleviated this inhibition in fusion. In dystrophic mdx muscles, versican upregulation correlated with pathology. We propose that versican is a novel and relevant target gene in DMD, given its suppression by glucocorticoids and that in excess it impairs myoblast fusion, a process key for muscle regeneration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Increased Serum Levels of Fetal Tenascin-C Variants in Patients with Pulmonary Hypertension: Novel Biomarkers Reflecting Vascular Remodeling and Right Ventricular Dysfunction?
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(11), 2371; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18112371 - 08 Nov 2017
Cited by 2
Abstract
Pulmonary vascular remodeling is a pathophysiological feature that common to all classes of pulmonary hypertension (PH) and right ventricular dysfunction, which is the major prognosis-limiting factor. Vascular, as well as cardiac tissue remodeling are associated with a re-expression of fetal variants of cellular [...] Read more.
Pulmonary vascular remodeling is a pathophysiological feature that common to all classes of pulmonary hypertension (PH) and right ventricular dysfunction, which is the major prognosis-limiting factor. Vascular, as well as cardiac tissue remodeling are associated with a re-expression of fetal variants of cellular adhesion proteins, including tenascin-C (Tn-C). We analyzed circulating levels of the fetal Tn-C splicing variants B+ and C+ Tn-C in serum of PH patients to evaluate their potential as novel biomarkers reflecting vascular remodeling and right ventricular dysfunction. Serum concentrations of B+ and C+ Tn-C were determined in 80 PH patients and were compared to 40 healthy controls by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Clinical, laboratory, echocardiographic, and functional data were correlated with Tn-C levels. Serum concentrations of both Tn-C variants were significantly elevated in patients with PH (p < 0.05). Significant correlations could be observed between Tn-C and echocardiographic parameters, including systolic pulmonary artery pressure (B+ Tn-C: r = 0.31, p < 0.001, C+ Tn-C: r = 0.26, p = 0.006) and right atrial area (B+ Tn-C: r = 0.46, p < 0.001, C+ Tn-C: r = 0.49, p < 0.001), and laboratory values like BNP (B+ Tn-C: r = 0.45, p < 0.001, C+ Tn-C: r = 0.42, p < 0.001). An inverse correlation was observed between Tn-C variants and 6-minute walk distance as a functional parameter (B+ Tn-C: r = −0.54, p < 0.001, C+ Tn-C: r = −0.43, p < 0.001). In a multivariate analysis, B+ Tn-C, but not C+ Tn-C, was found to be an independent predictor of pulmonary hypertension. Both fetal Tn-C variants may represent novel biomarkers that are capable of estimating both pulmonary vascular remodeling and right ventricular load. The potential beneficial impact of Tn-C variants for risk stratification in patients with PH needs further investigation. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Role of Extracellular Matrix in Development and Cancer Progression
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(10), 3028; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19103028 - 04 Oct 2018
Cited by 47
Abstract
The immense diversity of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins confers distinct biochemical and biophysical properties that influence cell phenotype. The ECM is highly dynamic as it is constantly deposited, remodelled, and degraded during development until maturity to maintain tissue homeostasis. The ECM’s composition and [...] Read more.
The immense diversity of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins confers distinct biochemical and biophysical properties that influence cell phenotype. The ECM is highly dynamic as it is constantly deposited, remodelled, and degraded during development until maturity to maintain tissue homeostasis. The ECM’s composition and organization are spatiotemporally regulated to control cell behaviour and differentiation, but dysregulation of ECM dynamics leads to the development of diseases such as cancer. The chemical cues presented by the ECM have been appreciated as key drivers for both development and cancer progression. However, the mechanical forces present due to the ECM have been largely ignored but recently recognized to play critical roles in disease progression and malignant cell behaviour. Here, we review the ways in which biophysical forces of the microenvironment influence biochemical regulation and cell phenotype during key stages of human development and cancer progression. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Decellularized Tissue for Muscle Regeneration
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(8), 2392; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19082392 - 14 Aug 2018
Cited by 11
Abstract
Several acquired or congenital pathological conditions can affect skeletal muscle leading to volumetric muscle loss (VML), i.e., an irreversible loss of muscle mass and function. Decellularized tissues are natural scaffolds derived from tissues or organs, in which the cellular and nuclear contents are [...] Read more.
Several acquired or congenital pathological conditions can affect skeletal muscle leading to volumetric muscle loss (VML), i.e., an irreversible loss of muscle mass and function. Decellularized tissues are natural scaffolds derived from tissues or organs, in which the cellular and nuclear contents are eliminated, but the tridimensional (3D) structure and composition of the extracellular matrix (ECM) are preserved. Such scaffolds retain biological activity, are biocompatible and do not show immune rejection upon allogeneic or xenogeneic transplantation. An increase number of reports suggest that decellularized tissues/organs are promising candidates for clinical application in patients affected by VML. Here we explore the different strategies used to generate decellularized matrix and their therapeutic outcome when applied to treat VML conditions, both in patients and in animal models. The wide variety of VML models, source of tissue and methods of decellularization have led to discrepant results. Our review study evaluates the biological and clinical significance of reported studies, with the final aim to clarify the main aspects that should be taken into consideration for the future application of decellularized tissues in the treatment of VML conditions. Full article
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Open AccessReview
From Structure to Phenotype: Impact of Collagen Alterations on Human Health
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(5), 1407; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19051407 - 08 May 2018
Cited by 12
Abstract
The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a highly dynamic and heterogeneous structure that plays multiple roles in living organisms. Its integrity and homeostasis are crucial for normal tissue development and organ physiology. Loss or alteration of ECM components turns towards a disease outcome. In [...] Read more.
The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a highly dynamic and heterogeneous structure that plays multiple roles in living organisms. Its integrity and homeostasis are crucial for normal tissue development and organ physiology. Loss or alteration of ECM components turns towards a disease outcome. In this review, we provide a general overview of ECM components with a special focus on collagens, the most abundant and diverse ECM molecules. We discuss the different functions of the ECM including its impact on cell proliferation, migration and differentiation by highlighting the relevance of the bidirectional cross-talk between the matrix and surrounding cells. By systematically reviewing all the hereditary disorders associated to altered collagen structure or resulting in excessive collagen degradation, we point to the functional relevance of the collagen and therefore of the ECM elements for human health. Moreover, the large overlapping spectrum of clinical features of the collagen-related disorders makes in some cases the patient clinical diagnosis very difficult. A better understanding of ECM complexity and molecular mechanisms regulating the expression and functions of the various ECM elements will be fundamental to fully recognize the different clinical entities. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Human Cancer and Platelet Interaction, a Potential Therapeutic Target
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(4), 1246; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19041246 - 20 Apr 2018
Cited by 10
Abstract
Cancer patients experience a four-fold increase in thrombosis risk, indicating that cancer development and progression are associated with platelet activation. Xenograft experiments and transgenic mouse models further demonstrate that platelet activation and platelet-cancer cell interaction are crucial for cancer metastasis. Direct or indirect [...] Read more.
Cancer patients experience a four-fold increase in thrombosis risk, indicating that cancer development and progression are associated with platelet activation. Xenograft experiments and transgenic mouse models further demonstrate that platelet activation and platelet-cancer cell interaction are crucial for cancer metastasis. Direct or indirect interaction of platelets induces cancer cell plasticity and enhances survival and extravasation of circulating cancer cells during dissemination. In vivo and in vitro experiments also demonstrate that cancer cells induce platelet aggregation, suggesting that platelet-cancer interaction is bidirectional. Therefore, understanding how platelets crosstalk with cancer cells may identify potential strategies to inhibit cancer metastasis and to reduce cancer-related thrombosis. Here, we discuss the potential function of platelets in regulating cancer progression and summarize the factors and signaling pathways that mediate the cancer cell-platelet interaction. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Microfabrication-Based Three-Dimensional (3-D) Extracellular Matrix Microenvironments for Cancer and Other Diseases
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(4), 935; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19040935 - 21 Mar 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Exploring the complicated development of tumors and metastases needs a deep understanding of the physical and biological interactions between cancer cells and their surrounding microenvironments. One of the major challenges is the ability to mimic the complex 3-D tissue microenvironment that particularly influences [...] Read more.
Exploring the complicated development of tumors and metastases needs a deep understanding of the physical and biological interactions between cancer cells and their surrounding microenvironments. One of the major challenges is the ability to mimic the complex 3-D tissue microenvironment that particularly influences cell proliferation, migration, invasion, and apoptosis in relation to the extracellular matrix (ECM). Traditional cell culture is unable to create 3-D cell scaffolds resembling tissue complexity and functions, and, in the past, many efforts were made to realize the goal of obtaining cell clusters in hydrogels. However, the available methods still lack a precise control of cell external microenvironments. Recently, the rapid development of microfabrication techniques, such as 3-D printing, microfluidics, and photochemistry, has offered great advantages in reconstructing 3-D controllable cancer cell microenvironments in vitro. Consequently, various biofunctionalized hydrogels have become the ideal candidates to help the researchers acquire some new insights into various diseases. Our review will discuss some important studies and the latest progress regarding the above approaches for the production of 3-D ECM structures for cancer and other diseases. Especially, we will focus on new discoveries regarding the impact of the ECM on different aspects of cancer metastasis, e.g., collective invasion, enhanced intravasation by stress and aligned collagen fibers, angiogenesis regulation, as well as on drug screening. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Beyond the Matrix: The Many Non-ECM Ligands for Integrins
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(2), 449; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19020449 - 02 Feb 2018
Cited by 9
Abstract
The traditional view of integrins portrays these highly conserved cell surface receptors as mediators of cellular attachment to the extracellular matrix (ECM), and to a lesser degree, as coordinators of leukocyte adhesion to the endothelium. These canonical activities are indispensable; however, there is [...] Read more.
The traditional view of integrins portrays these highly conserved cell surface receptors as mediators of cellular attachment to the extracellular matrix (ECM), and to a lesser degree, as coordinators of leukocyte adhesion to the endothelium. These canonical activities are indispensable; however, there is also a wide variety of integrin functions mediated by non-ECM ligands that transcend the traditional roles of integrins. Some of these unorthodox roles involve cell-cell interactions and are engaged to support immune functions such as leukocyte transmigration, recognition of opsonization factors, and stimulation of neutrophil extracellular traps. Other cell-cell interactions mediated by integrins include hematopoietic stem cell and tumor cell homing to target tissues. Integrins also serve as cell-surface receptors for various growth factors, hormones, and small molecules. Interestingly, integrins have also been exploited by a wide variety of organisms including viruses and bacteria to support infectious activities such as cellular adhesion and/or cellular internalization. Additionally, the disruption of integrin function through the use of soluble integrin ligands is a common strategy adopted by several parasites in order to inhibit blood clotting during hematophagy, or by venomous snakes to kill prey. In this review, we strive to go beyond the matrix and summarize non-ECM ligands that interact with integrins in order to highlight these non-traditional functions of integrins. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Biological Role of Hyaluronan-Rich Oocyte-Cumulus Extracellular Matrix in Female Reproduction
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(1), 283; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19010283 - 18 Jan 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Fertilization of the mammalian oocyte requires interactions between spermatozoa and expanded cumulus extracellular matrix (ECM) that surrounds the oocyte. This review focuses on key molecules that play an important role in the formation of the cumulus ECM, generated by the oocyte-cumulus complex. In [...] Read more.
Fertilization of the mammalian oocyte requires interactions between spermatozoa and expanded cumulus extracellular matrix (ECM) that surrounds the oocyte. This review focuses on key molecules that play an important role in the formation of the cumulus ECM, generated by the oocyte-cumulus complex. In particular, the specific inhibitors (AG1478, lapatinib, indomethacin and MG132) and progesterone receptor antagonist (RU486) exerting their effects through the remodeling of the ECM of the cumulus cells surrounding the oocyte have been described. After gonadotropin stimulus, cumulus cells expand and form hyaluronan (HA)-rich cumulus ECM. In pigs, the proper structure of the cumulus ECM depends on the interaction between HA and serum-derived proteins of the inter-alpha-trypsin inhibitor (IαI) protein family. We have demonstrated the synthesis of HA by cumulus cells, and the presence of the IαI, tumor necrosis factor-alpha-induced protein 6 and pentraxin 3 in expanding oocyte-cumulus complexes (OCC). We have evaluated the covalent linkage of heavy chains of IαI proteins to HA, as the principal component of the expanded HA-rich cumulus ECM, in porcine OCC cultured in medium with specific inhibitors: AG1478 and lapatinib (both inhibitors of epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase activity); MG132 (a specific proteasomal inhibitor), indomethacin (cyclooxygenase inhibitor); and progesterone receptor antagonist (RU486). We have found that both RU486 and indomethacin does not disrupt the formation of the covalent linkage between the heavy chains of IαI to HA in the expanded OCC. In contrast, the inhibitors AG1478 and lapatinib prevent gonadotropin-induced cumulus expansion. Finally, the formation of oocyte-cumulus ECM relying on the covalent transfer of heavy chains of IαI molecules to HA has been inhibited in the presence of MG132. Full article
Open AccessReview
Mast Cells: Key Contributors to Cardiac Fibrosis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(1), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19010231 - 12 Jan 2018
Cited by 9
Abstract
Historically, increased numbers of mast cells have been associated with fibrosis in numerous cardiac pathologies, implicating mast cells in the development of cardiac fibrosis. Subsequently, several approaches have been utilised to demonstrate a causal role for mast cells in animal models of cardiac [...] Read more.
Historically, increased numbers of mast cells have been associated with fibrosis in numerous cardiac pathologies, implicating mast cells in the development of cardiac fibrosis. Subsequently, several approaches have been utilised to demonstrate a causal role for mast cells in animal models of cardiac fibrosis including mast cell stabilising compounds, rodents deficient in mast cells, and inhibition of the actions of mast cell-specific proteases such as chymase and tryptase. Whilst most evidence supports a pro-fibrotic role for mast cells, there is evidence that in some settings these cells can oppose fibrosis. A major gap in our current understanding of cardiac mast cell function is identification of the stimuli that activate these cells causing them to promote a pro-fibrotic environment. This review will present the evidence linking mast cells to cardiac fibrosis, as well as discuss the major questions that remain in understanding how mast cells contribute to cardiac fibrosis. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Role of Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor Type 1 in Pathologies of Female Reproductive Diseases
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(8), 1651; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18081651 - 29 Jul 2017
Cited by 18
Abstract
Normal pregnancy is a state of hypercoagulability with diminishing fibrinolytic activity, which is mainly caused by an increase of plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1). PAI-1 is the main inhibitor of plasminogen activators, including tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) and urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA). [...] Read more.
Normal pregnancy is a state of hypercoagulability with diminishing fibrinolytic activity, which is mainly caused by an increase of plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1). PAI-1 is the main inhibitor of plasminogen activators, including tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) and urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA). In human placentas, PAI-1 is expressed in extravillous interstitial trophoblasts and vascular trophoblasts. During implantation and placentation, PAI-1 is responsible for inhibiting extra cellular matrix (ECM) degradation, thereby causing an inhibition of trophoblasts invasion. In the present study, we have reviewed the literature of various reproductive diseases where PAI-1 plays a role. PAI-1 levels are increased in patients with recurrent pregnancy losses (RPL), preeclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in the previous pregnancy, endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). In general, an increased expression of PAI-1 in the blood is associated with an increased risk for infertility and a worse pregnancy outcome. GDM and PCOS are related to the genetic role of the 4G/5G polymorphism of PAI-1. This review provides an overview of the current knowledge of the role of PAI-1 in reproductive diseases. PAI-1 represents a promising monitoring biomarker for reproductive diseases and may be a treatment target in the near future. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Thrombospondins: A Role in Cardiovascular Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(7), 1540; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18071540 - 17 Jul 2017
Cited by 5
Abstract
Thrombospondins (TSPs) represent extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins belonging to the TSP family that comprises five members. All TSPs have a complex multidomain structure that permits the interaction with various partners including other ECM proteins, cytokines, receptors, growth factors, etc. Among TSPs, TSP1, TSP2, [...] Read more.
Thrombospondins (TSPs) represent extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins belonging to the TSP family that comprises five members. All TSPs have a complex multidomain structure that permits the interaction with various partners including other ECM proteins, cytokines, receptors, growth factors, etc. Among TSPs, TSP1, TSP2, and TSP4 are the most studied and functionally tested. TSP1 possesses anti-angiogenic activity and is able to activate transforming growth factor (TGF)-β, a potent profibrotic and anti-inflammatory factor. Both TSP2 and TSP4 are implicated in the control of ECM composition in hypertrophic hearts. TSP1, TSP2, and TSP4 also influence cardiac remodeling by affecting collagen production, activity of matrix metalloproteinases and TGF-β signaling, myofibroblast differentiation, cardiomyocyte apoptosis, and stretch-mediated enhancement of myocardial contraction. The development and evaluation of TSP-deficient animal models provided an option to assess the contribution of TSPs to cardiovascular pathology such as (myocardial infarction) MI, cardiac hypertrophy, heart failure, atherosclerosis, and aortic valve stenosis. Targeting of TSPs has a significant therapeutic value for treatment of cardiovascular disease. The activation of cardiac TSP signaling in stress and pressure overload may be therefore beneficial. Full article
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