International Journal of Hematology

DOI: 10.1007/s12185-012-1016-y Pages: 131-137

New functions of the fibrinolytic system in bone marrow cell-derived angiogenesis

1. Institute of Medical Science at the University of Tokyo, Center for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine

2. Institute of Medical Science at the University of Tokyo, Frontier Research Initiative

3. Juntendo University School of Medicine, Atopy (Allergy) Research Center

Correspondence to:
Beate Heissig
Tel: +81-3-64092108
Fax: +81-3-64092109



Angiogenesis is a process by which new blood vessels form from preexisting vasculature. This process includes differentiation of angioblasts into endothelial cells with the help of secreted angiogenic factors released from cells such as bone marrow (BM)-derived cells. The fibrinolytic factor plasmin, which is a serine protease, has been shown to promote endothelial cell migration either directly, by degrading matrix proteins such as fibrin, or indirectly, by converting matrix-bound angiogenic growth factors into a soluble form. Plasmin can also activate other pericellular proteases such as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Recent studies indicate that plasmin can additionally alter cellular adhesion and migration. We showed that factors of the fibrinolytic pathway can recruit BM-derived hematopoietic cells into ischemic/hypoxic tissues by altering the activation status of MMPs. These BM-derived cells can function as accessory cells that promote angiogenesis by releasing angiogenic signals. This review will discuss recent data regarding the role of the fibrinolytic system in controlling myeloid cell-driven angiogenesis. We propose that plasmin/plasminogen may be a potential target not only for development of effective angiogenic therapeutic strategies for the treatment of cancer, but also for development of strategies to promote ischemic tissue regeneration.

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