The extracellular matrix (ECM) components are involved in important cellular functions, such as differentiation, proliferation, migration, and adhesion, in both the normal nervous system and extracranial tumors. The major classes of macromolecules in the ECM of non-neural tissues are collagens, proteoglycans, and glycoproteins. In gliomas type I collagen can always be detected within the vessel walls in the endothelial glomerulus-like proliferations and in the perivascular ECM, but can be found only irregularly in some connective tissue septa between the tumor cell nodules. The tissue distribution of tenascin is much more restricted than that of other ECM macromolecules. A distinct aspect of tumor progression in gliomas is diminution of glial and increase of ECM expression with increased malignancy. M. Schrappe and coworkers demonstrated the accumulation of a CSPG recognized by monoclonal antibody 9.2.27 in the perivascular ECM of proliferating capillaries in glioblastomas.
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