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The regulatory role of heparan sulfate and heparan sulfate interacting protein histidine-rich glycoprotein during carcinogenesis

Benedikt von der Heyde

 

Angiogenesis is an important process occuring naturally in the human body, describing the process of the formation of new blood vessels from existing ones. This process is physiologically most relevant in several processes such as embryonic development, wound healing and the female reproductive cycle.
Angiogenesis is initiated by the secretion of growth factors. Some of the most prominent growth factors (GF’s) are vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and fibroblast growth factor (FGF). These secreted proteins bind to their respective target receptors on the cell surface of endothelial cells (EC’s), for example VEGFR2 or FGFR, respectively. Upon binding, several signalling cascades are triggered and EC’s secrets proteases in order to degrade the basement membrane of the vessel. The cells are then enabled to migrate into the matrix and form sprouts directed towards the stimulus.

This mechanism can be exploited in pathological situations. Proliferating tumors excrete growth factors to trigger angiogenesis to ensure nutrient and oxygen supply. Blocking tumor angiogenesis results in necrosis of the malignant cells and thus serves as a suitable therapeutic target. It is desired to find specific therapeutic strategies. A suitable approach to interfere with pathological angiogenesis could be targeting of heparan sulfate and it’s interaction partners.

 


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Last updated: 08/04/17