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Collagen XVIII is a heparan sulphate proteoglycan which is expressed ubiquitously in different basement membranes throughout the body. Its C-terminal fragment, endostatin, has been found to inhibit angiogenesis and tumor growth by restricting endothelial proliferation and migration and inducing apoptosis of endothelial cells. Collagen XVIII has three variants, of which the shortest one is found in most vascular and epithelial BM structures, whereas the longer variants are found especially in the liver. The longest or frizzled variant has a cysteine-rich domain in its N-terminus that has been shown to inhibit Wnt signaling in vitro. The presence of collagen XVIII homologues in organisms such as C. elegans, Xenopus laevis, zebrafish and chick suggests a fundamental role for this BM collagen. Mutations in the collagen XVIII gene lead to the Knobloch syndrome, which is characterized by high myopia, vitreoretinal degeneration with retinal detachment, macular abnormalities and occipital encephalocele. Mice lacking collagen XVIII also show several ocular abnormalities. This suggests that in physiological conditions collagen XVIII is mostly needed for the proper development of the eye. Moreover, it appears to be needed for the structural stability of basement membranes in several other organs, and increasing evidence shows its importance for other organs in non-physiological situations such as atherosclerosis, glomerulonephritis or other type of tissue damage. This review focuses on clarifying the roles of collagen XVIII and its variants and domains in various physiological and pathological conditions. Copyright © 2010 International Society of Matrix Biology. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Lotta Seppinen, Taina Pihlajaniemi. The multiple functions of collagen XVIII in development and disease. Matrix biology : journal of the International Society for Matrix Biology. 2011 Mar;30(2):83-92

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PMID: 21163348

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