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Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2009 Jan 1;14:2307-34.

Integrins and proximal signaling mechanisms in cardiovascular disease.

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  • 1Division of Molecular Cardiology, Cardiovascular Research Institute, The Texas AandM University System Health Science Center, College of Medicine, Baylor College of Dentistry, The Texas A and M Health Science Center, Dallas, TX, USA.


Integrins are heterodimeric cell-surface molecules, which act as the principle mediators of molecular dialog between a cell and its extracellular matrix environment. In addition to their structural functions, integrins mediate signaling from the extracellular space into the cell through integrin-associated signaling and adaptor molecules such as FAK (focal adhesion kinase), ILK (integrin-linked kinase), PINCH (particularly interesting new cysteine-histidine rich protein) and Nck2 (non-catalytic (region of) tyrosine kinase adaptor protein-2). Via these molecules, integrin signaling tightly and cooperatively interacts with receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) signaling to regulate survival, proliferation and cell shape as well as polarity, adhesion, migration and differentiation. In the heart and blood vessels, the function and regulation of these molecules can be partially disturbed and thus contribute to cardiovascular diseases such as cardiac hypertrophy and atherosclerosis. In this review, we discuss the primary mechanisms of action and signaling of integrins in the cardiac and vascular system in normal and pathological states, as well as therapeutic strategies for targeting these systems (1).

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