Biomedical Importance

Most mammalian cells are located in tissues where they are surrounded by a complex extracellular matrix (ECM) often referred to as "connective tissue." The ECM contains three major classes of biomolecules: (1) the structural proteins, collagen, elastin, and fibrillin; (2) certain specialized proteins such as fibrillin, fi-bronectin, and laminin; and (3) proteoglycans, whose chemical natures are described below. The ECM has been found to be involved in many normal and pathologic processes—eg, it plays important roles in development, in inflammatory states, and in the spread of cancer cells. Involvement of certain components of the ECM has been documented in both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Several diseases (eg, osteogenesis imperfecta and a number of types of the Ehlers-Danlos syndrome) are due to genetic disturbances of the synthesis of collagen. Specific components of proteoglycans (the glycosaminoglycans; GAGs) are affected in the group of genetic disorders known as the mu-copolysaccharidoses. Changes occur in the ECM during the aging process. This chapter describes the basic biochemistry of the three major classes of biomolecules found in the ECM and illustrates their biomedical significance. Major biochemical features of two specialized forms of ECM—bone and cartilage—and of a number of diseases involving them are also briefly considered.

Diabetes 2

Diabetes 2

Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body uses food. Normally, your body converts sugars, starches and other foods into a form of sugar called glucose. Your body uses glucose for fuel. The cells receive the glucose through the bloodstream. They then use insulin a hormone made by the pancreas to absorb the glucose, convert it into energy, and either use it or store it for later use. Learn more...

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