Taking aim at the extracellular matrix: CCN proteins as emerging therapeutic targets

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2011 Dec 1;10(12):945-63. doi: 10.1038/nrd3599.


Members of the CCN family of matricellular proteins are crucial for embryonic development and have important roles in inflammation, wound healing and injury repair in adulthood. Deregulation of CCN protein expression or activities contributes to the pathobiology of various diseases - many of which may arise when inflammation or tissue injury becomes chronic - including fibrosis, atherosclerosis, arthritis and cancer, as well as diabetic nephropathy and retinopathy. Emerging studies indicate that targeting CCN protein expression or signalling pathways holds promise in the development of diagnostics and therapeutics for such diseases. This Review summarizes the biology of CCN proteins, their roles in various pathologies and their potential as therapeutic targets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CCN Intercellular Signaling Proteins / chemistry
  • CCN Intercellular Signaling Proteins / metabolism*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Delivery Systems / trends*
  • Extracellular Matrix / drug effects*
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism*
  • Fibrosis
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Inflammation Mediators / physiology
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology


  • CCN Intercellular Signaling Proteins
  • Inflammation Mediators