The effects of gene knockouts and over-expressions on CCN family proteins in angiogenesis
Haliotis, Spiro Nectarios
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Blood vessel growth is an intricate process normally characterized through the processes of vasculogenesis and angiogenesis. Vasculogenesis is the process of blood vessel formation via differentiation of early progenitor cells into endothelial cells. Angiogenesis is physiological process by which new blood vessels form and develop from pre-existing vessels, these vessels are critical for allowing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the body’s organs and tissues, which allows for proper growth and development. However, blood vessel growth has been shown to develop pathologically as well as physiologically. Pathological instances have been observed in a plethora of microvasculature diseases, especially in the eye. These microvasculature diseases include: Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) and vitreoretinopathy, retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and neovascular glaucoma. Furthermore, unrestrained blood vessel growth via angiogenesis has been noted in being playing a critical role in tumor cell growth, proliferation, and metastasis. In an attempt understand the development of these pathologies, research has been conducted to further characterize the specific roles of genes which play a role in the mechanistic pathway of blood vessel growth and formation. Extracellular Matrix (ECM) proteins, which are critical in all aspects of vascular development and health, have been shown to play a role in modulation of angiogenetic growth and transcription factors. One particular matricellular protein family, cellular communication network, has been shown to play a critical role in the modulation and control of ECM composition and morphology. It is also said that CCN proteins influence physiological and pathological Angiogenic and Neovascularization processes. Further knowledge and understanding of the mechanistic pathways of CCN proteins on Angiogenesis and Neovascularization could allow for possible drug therapy aimed at mitigation of unrestrained blood vessel growth in pathologies of the eye. Such research could also be utilized for targeted drug therapies on tumors, as past studies have shown cancer development depends on blood supply to thrive and grow.