The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 55: 455 - 465 (2011)

Vol 55, Issue 4-5

Special Issue: Angiogenesis in Development & Cancer

Role of laminins in physiological and pathological angiogenesis

Review | Published: 19 July 2011

Patricia Simon-Assmann*, Gertraud Orend, Elmina Mammadova-Bach, Caroline Spenlé and Olivier Lefebvre

INSERM, U682 and Université de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France


The interaction of endothelial cells and pericytes with their microenvironment, in particular with the basement membrane, plays a crucial role during vasculogenesis and angiogenesis. In this review, we focus on laminins, a major family of extracellular matrix molecules present in basement membranes. Laminins interact with cell surface receptors to trigger intracellular signalling that shapes cell behaviour. Each laminin exerts a distinct effect on endothelial cells and pericytes which largely depends on the adhesion receptor profile expressed on the cell surface. Moreover, proteolytic cleavage of laminins may affect their role in angiogenesis. We report in vitro and in vivo data on laminin-111, -411, -511 and -332 and their associated signalling that regulates cell behaviour and angiogenesis under normal and pathological conditions. We also discuss how tissue-specific deletion of laminin genes affects the behaviour of endothelial cells and pericytes and thus angiogenesis. Finally, we examine how coculture systems with defined laminin expression contribute to our understanding of the roles of laminins in normal and pathological vasculogenesis and angiogenesis.


laminin, basement membrane, vasculogenesis, angiogenesis, cancer

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