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Cellular Microenvironment in Human Pathologies

Call for Papers

It is well established that the cellular microenvironment dramatically influences cell behavior and is critical in many physiological functions as the differentiation niche of stem cells or during development. The surroundings of cells are constituted by several heterogeneous components forming a complex network of proteins and glycans. Although this extracellular matrix has been considered for decades as a mechanical scaffold where cells attach and reside, nowadays it is known that such molecules modulate numerous cellular functions including survival, proliferation, migration, and differentiation. From a mechanicistic point of view, the extracellular matrix components can interact with cells in several ways including the modulation of soluble factors (i.e., growth factors, cytokines, etc.) binding to their receptors, activation of integrins, and the consequent regulation of signaling cascades.

An increasing body of literature suggests that an altered cellular microenvironment is mechanistically involved in many human pathologies. Interestingly, several extracellular components influence the process of immune cell recruitment that, through specific signaling factors and extracellular matrix modifying enzymes, contributes to inflammation, tissue remodeling, and degeneration. These last phenomena are critical in many disorders as neoplastic diseases and cardiovascular pathologies that, together, represent the major cause of death in industrialized countries.

The main focus of this special issue will be on the role of extracellular matrix components in modulating cellular functions altered in human pathologies and the molecular mechanisms through which these cellular functions are regulated. Moreover, we are interested in alterations of extracellular molecules that characterized specific pathologies that can be proposed as a novel marker. We expect original research articles or reviews not only on glycoconjugates as proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans, and matrix receptors including integrins, but also on the main extracellular matrix modifying enzymes as metalloproteinases, their matrix substrates, and their regulators. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Analytical methods to study matrix components
  • Proteoglycan and glycosaminoglycan synthesis and catabolism
  • Involvement of extracellular matrix and modifying enzymes in inflammation, cancer, vascular, neural, muscular, and skeletal diseases as well as regenerative medicine
  • Extracellular matrix-mediated signal transduction
  • Cellular process modulated by extracellular matrix such as apoptosis, autophagy, proliferation, senescence, motility, differentiation, and so forth

Before submission authors should carefully read over the journal's Author Guidelines, which are located at Prospective authors should submit an electronic copy of their complete manuscript through the journal Manuscript Tracking System at according to the following timetable:

Manuscript DueFriday, 3 May 2013
First Round of ReviewsFriday, 26 July 2013
Publication DateFriday, 20 September 2013

Lead Guest Editor

  • Davide Vigetti, Department of Surgical and Morphological Sciences, University of Insubria, 21100 Varese, Italy

Guest Editors

  • Martin Götte, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Münster University Hospital, 48149 Münster, Germany
  • Mauro S. G. Pavao, Instituto de Bioquímica Médica and Hospital Universitário Clementino Fraga Filho, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), 21941-590 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
  • Achilleas D. Theocharis, Department of Chemistry, University of Patras, 26500 Patras, Greece