Cell-extracellular Matrix Interactions in Normal and Diseased Skin

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2011 Apr 1;3(4):a005124. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a005124.


Mammalian skin comprises a multi-layered epithelium, the epidermis, and an underlying connective tissue, the dermis. The epidermal extracellular matrix is a basement membrane, whereas the dermal ECM comprises fibrillar collagens and associated proteins. There is considerable heterogeneity in ECM composition within both epidermis and dermis. The functional significance of this extends beyond cell adhesion to a range of cell autonomous and nonautonomous processes, including control of epidermal stem cell fate. In skin, cell-ECM interactions influence normal homeostasis, aging, wound healing, and disease. Disturbed integrin and ECM signaling contributes to both tumor formation and fibrosis. Strategies for manipulating cell-ECM interactions to repair skin defects and intervene in a variety of skin diseases hold promise for the future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology*
  • Mammals / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Skin / cytology*
  • Skin / pathology*
  • Skin Diseases / pathology*