Correlation of the Matrix-Degrading Activity of Macrophages with Changes in Smooth Muscle Cell Biology in Atherogenesis
Studies by bissell et al.1,2 have stressed the importance of the extracellular matrix surrounding each cell as an integral part of the cellular functional unit. The cell, dependent on its phenotypic state, produces a particular matrix which via interactions with membrane receptors and cytoskeletal components affects gene expression. This in turn, influences many morphological and functional properties of the cell. Studies with many cell systems including fibroblasts, smooth muscle cells (SMC), and endothelial and epithelial cells have shown that matrix components regulate functions such as adhesion, shape, migration, proliferation, biosynthetic and degradative processes, morphogenesis and differentiation3,4.
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