Extracellular matrix in vascular morphogenesis and disease: structure versus signal

Trends Cell Biol. 2003 Jan;13(1):51-6. doi: 10.1016/s0962-8924(02)00007-7.


The vascular system matures during embryonic development to form a stable, well-organized tubular network. In vivo data have established that the extracellular matrix (ECM) is crucial in providing structural support to the vascular system. In vitro studies are defining the involvement of ECM-smooth-muscle cell signaling in establishing and maintaining the mature tubular structure. However, correlating cell signaling with established structural functions for the ECM and determining the relative importance of these two roles in vivo is often difficult. Here, we examine human genetics, murine gene targeting and cell biology to better understand the relationship between structural and signaling roles for the ECM in vascular morphogenesis and disease.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endothelium, Vascular / growth & development*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology
  • Extracellular Matrix / genetics
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / pathology*
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / genetics
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Vascular Diseases / genetics
  • Vascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Vascular Diseases / pathology*


  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins