The extracellular matrix (ECM) has fascinated me ever since I was a student, newly introduced to the concept that interactions between cells build and sustain multi-cellular tissues. Unlike the cells of plants or fungi, animal cells have no cell wall: molecules secreted by animal cells into the extracellular space can bind directly to plasma membrane receptors to influence gene expression and cell behaviour. Continue reading Guest editing an issue of ‘Essays in Biochemistry’ on the Extracellular Matrix
By Conor Sugden, University of Liverpool
Inflammatory mechanisms and processes contribute to the pathogenesis of a number of conditions – one of which is fibrosis. Inflammation and fibrosis are intrinsically linked, and much about their complex relationship is still unknown. Whereas a healthy inflammatory response is necessary for successful wound healing, a prolonged response often precedes tissue fibrosis.
By Rosalind Brown, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh
Most people will have heard of Alzheimer’s disease, but fewer people are aware of cerebral small vessel disease (SVD), a silently progressing disease of ageing responsible for nearly half of all cases of dementia along with a large percentage of strokes. The global health impact of SVD is huge and while a small number of genetic mutations have been identified as causing some forms, for the majority of cases the cause is uncertain.