Extracellular matrix, a hard player in angiogenesis

Maurizio Mongiat, Eva Andreuzzi, Giulia Tarticchio, Alice Paulitti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a complex network of proteins, glycoproteins, proteoglycans, and polysaccharides. Through multiple interactions with each other and the cell surface receptors, not only the ECM determines the physical and mechanical properties of the tissues, but also profoundly influences cell behavior and many physiological and pathological processes. One of the functions that have been extensively explored is its impingement on angiogenesis. The strong impact of the ECM in this context is both direct and indirect by virtue of its ability to interact and/or store several growth factors and cytokines. The aim of this review is to provide some examples of the complex molecular mechanisms that are elicited by these molecules in promoting or weakening the angiogenic processes. The scenario is intricate, since matrix remodeling often generates fragments displaying opposite effects compared to those exerted by the whole molecules. Thus, the balance will tilt towards angiogenesis or angiostasis depending on the relative expression of pro- or anti-angiogenetic molecules/fragments composing the matrix of a given tissue. One of the vital aspects of this field of research is that, for its endogenous nature, the ECM can be viewed as a reservoir to draw from for the development of new more efficacious therapies to treat angiogenesis-dependent pathologies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1822
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Angiogenesis
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Spectroscopy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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