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Prog Retin Eye Res. 2006 Jan;25(1):1-18. Epub 2005 Jun 29.

Thrombospondin 1, thrombospondin 2 and the eye.

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  • 1Unit of Ophthalmology, School of Clinical Science, University Clinical Departments, The Duncan Building, University of Liverpool, Daulby Street, Liverpool L69 3GA, UK. p.s.hiscott@liv.ac.uk

Abstract

Thrombospondin 1 and thrombospondin 2 (TSP1 and TSP2), which comprise the subgroup A thrombospondins, are matricellular proteins. As matricellular proteins, they modulate interactions between cells and the cellular environment, regulate cell adhesion and typically are expressed during tissue formative processes. In general, TSP1 and TSP2 counter angiogenesis (including tumour angiogenesis) and play important but contrasting roles during cutaneous repair. The two proteins are involved in development, including that of the eye, although evidence suggests that they have their greatest impact during tissue production in the adult. In the normal adult eye, they tend to be found at sites of ongoing matrix synthesis or cell-matrix interactions. At these sites, the two proteins possibly influence cellular differentiation and/or basement membrane deposition. TSP1 is also present in the intraocular fluids and drainage pathway, where it may function in maintaining the anti-angiogenic environment and in intraocular pressure control, respectively. TSP1 could also be involved in ocular immune privilege. Unlike in skin wounds, where TSP1 is derived from the blood and is present only in the early phases of repair, ocular tissue damage appears to lead to protacted TSP1 synthesis by local cells. This response might help suppress angiogenesis in the transparent tissues of the eye and so lessen visual axis opacification following injury. However, TSP2, which is also produced by damaged ophthalmic tissue and may be especially important in matrix organisation, seems to augment contraction in anomalous intraocular fibrosis. Elucidating the roles of TSP1 and TSP2 in ocular physiology and pathobiology may lead to improved therapies for neovascular, neoplastic, reparative and other ophthalmic diseases.

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