Pathophysiology of the Intercellular Matrix as a Whole
Arterial wall contains cellular elements and intercellular matrix. The relative importance of the matrix elements varies from the basement membrane in capillaries to a relatively abundant and complex “matrix” in larger arteries of the “elastic” type. This contains all four major classes of the intercellular matrix macromolecules (IMM): Collagen, Elastin, Proteoglycans and Structural Glycoproteins. The relative proportion of these macromolecules varies also from artery to artery and even in the same artery according to its anatomical location. The differentiation of the cellular elements of the arterial wall during morphogenesis appears to imply the definition of a “program” of biosynthesis of these IMM-s, this program being different according to the anatomical location and the functional role of the artery. This “program” of IMM-biosynthesis changes also with age and appears to be modified in pathological conditions. The study of arterial wall connective tissues “as a whole” is conditioned by the understanding of the mechanisms underlying the “program” of biosynthesis of the IMM-s as well as the mechanisms of their degradation.
KeywordsCholesterol Toxicity Carbohydrate Macromolecule Arteriosclerosis
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