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      Vascular tube formation on matrix metalloproteinase-1-damaged collagen

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          Connective tissue damage and angiogenesis are both important features of tumour growth and invasion. Here, we show that endothelial cells maintained on a three-dimensional lattice of intact polymerised collagen formed a monolayer of cells with a cobblestone morphology. When the collagen was exposed to organ culture fluid from human basal cell tumours of the skin (containing a high level of active matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1)), degradation of the collagen matrix occurred. The major degradation products were the $3over 4$- and $1over 4$-sized fragments known to result from the action of MMP-1 on type I collagen. When endothelial cells were maintained on the partially degraded collagen, the cells organised into a network of vascular tubes. Pretreatment of the organ culture fluid with either tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1) or neutralising antibody to MMP-1 prevented degradation of the collagen lattice and concomitantly inhibited endothelial cell organisation into the vascular network. Purified (activated) MMP-1 duplicated the effects of skin organ culture fluid, but other enzymes including MMP-9 (gelatinase B), elastase or trypsin failed to produce measurable fragments from intact collagen and also failed to promote vascular tube formation. Together, these studies suggest that damage to the collagenous matrix is itself an important inducer of new vessel formation.

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          Most cited references 24

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          Cutaneous wound healing.

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            Endothelial extracellular matrix: biosynthesis, remodeling, and functions during vascular morphogenesis and neovessel stabilization.

            The extracellular matrix (ECM) is critical for all aspects of vascular biology. In concert with supporting cells, endothelial cells (ECs) assemble a laminin-rich basement membrane matrix that provides structural and organizational stability. During the onset of angiogenesis, this basement membrane matrix is degraded by proteinases, among which membrane-type matrix metalloproteinases (MT-MMPs) are particularly significant. As angiogenesis proceeds, ECM serves essential functions in supporting key signaling events involved in regulating EC migration, invasion, proliferation, and survival. Moreover, the provisional ECM serves as a pliable scaffold wherein mechanical guidance forces are established among distal ECs, thereby providing organizational cues in the absence of cell-cell contact. Finally, through specific integrin-dependent signal transduction pathways, ECM controls the EC cytoskeleton to orchestrate the complex process of vascular morphogenesis by which proliferating ECs organize into multicellular tubes with functional lumens. Thus, the composition of ECM and therefore the regulation of ECM degradation and remodeling serves pivotally in the control of lumen and tube formation and, finally, neovessel stability and maturation.
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              Processing of VEGF-A by matrix metalloproteinases regulates bioavailability and vascular patterning in tumors

              Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a critical mediator of blood vessel formation during development and in pathological conditions. In this study, we demonstrate that VEGF bioavailability is regulated extracellularly by matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) through intramolecular processing. Specifically, we show that a subset of MMPs can cleave matrix-bound isoforms of VEGF, releasing soluble fragments. We have mapped the region of MMP processing, have generated recombinant forms that mimic MMP-cleaved and MMP-resistant VEGF, and have explored their biological impact in tumors. Although all forms induced similar VEGF receptor 2 phosphorylation levels, the angiogenic outcomes were distinct. MMP-cleaved VEGF promoted the capillary dilation of existent vessels but mediated a marginal neovascular response within the tumor. In contrast, MMP-resistant VEGF supported extensive growth of thin vessels with multiple and frequent branch points. Our findings support the view that matrix-bound VEGF and nontethered VEGF provide different signaling outcomes. These findings reveal a novel aspect in the regulation of extracellular VEGF that holds significance for vascular patterning.

                Author and article information

                Br J Cancer
                British Journal of Cancer
                Nature Publishing Group
                29 April 2008
                13 May 2008
                20 May 2008
                : 98
                : 10
                : 1646-1652
                [1 ]simpleDepartment of Pathology, University of Michigan Medical School Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
                [2 ]simpleDepartment of Dermatology, University of Michigan Medical School Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]Author for correspondence: varani@
                Copyright 2008, Cancer Research UK
                Molecular Diagnostics

                Oncology & Radiotherapy

                wound healing, tumor invasion, angiogenesis, inflammation


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