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Biological Chemistry

Editor-in-Chief: Brüne, Bernhard

Editorial Board Member: Buchner, Johannes / Lei, Ming / Ludwig, Stephan / Sies, Helmut / Turk, Boris / Wittinghofer, Alfred

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 1.607
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Ancestral vascular tube formation and its adoption by tumors

Tomáš Kučera1 / Eckhard Lammert2

1The First Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Histology and Embryology, Charles University Prague, Albertov 4, CZ-128 00 Prague, Czech Republic

2Institute of Metabolic Physiology, Heinrich Heine University, Universitätsstrasse 1, D-40225 Düsseldorf, Germany

Corresponding author

Citation Information: Biological Chemistry. Volume 390, Issue 10, Pages 985–994, ISSN (Online) 1437-4315, ISSN (Print) 1431-6730, DOI: 10.1515/BC.2009.115, July 2009

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Similar to growing and metabolically active tissues, tumors require a dense vasculature to gain access to oxygen and nutrients. However, blood vessels in tumors differ from vessels in normal tissues in many respects. In particular, the tumor vasculature is in an active state of angiogenesis or vasculogenesis, and it is immature and leaky. Blood vessels are multicellular tubes formed by polarized endothelial cells, which face the patent vascular lumen with their apical cell surface, whereas their basal cell surface faces extracellular matrix on the outside of the vessels. The same cell polarity can be found in other tubular structures, such as in the bronchial tubes of the lung or the kidney tubules. In contrast, blood vessels in invertebrates often have a vascular lumen lined by basal cell surfaces. These vessels are often formed by a process named ‘ancestral vascular tube formation’. Here, we discuss the hypothesis that the supply of tumors with blood can be achieved by both endothelial cell-lined tubes as well as tubes formed by the tumor cells themselves using the ancestral vascular tube formation mechanism. We discuss this hypothesis with a particular focus on gastrointestinal tumors.

Keywords: angiogenesis; apico-basal polarity; basement membrane; hepatocellular carcinoma; laminin; tubulogenesis; vasculogenic mimicry

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