Proteases in angiogenesis
Angiogenesis is the process of forming new blood vessels from existing blood vessels. It is a highly complex process involving extensive interplay between cells, soluble factors, and the extracellular matrix (ECM). Angiogenesis is critical during normal physiological development, but it also occurs in adults during inflammation, wound healing, ischemia, and in pathological conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, hemangioma, and tumor growth. Proteolysis has been indicated as one of the first and most sustained activities involved in the formation of new blood vessels. Numerous proteases including matrix metalloproteases (MMPs), a disintegrin and metalloprotease domain (ADAM), a disintegrin and metalloprotease domain with throbospondin motifs (ADAMTS), and cysteine and serine proteases are involved in angiogenesis. This article focuses on the important and diverse roles that these proteases play in the regulation of angiogenesis.