Main Article Content
Cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) are glycoproteins expressed on the cell surface and play a vital role in a wide array of biologic processes. Some of these include: cell growth, differentiation, embryogenesis, immune cell transmigration and response, inflammation, wound healing and cancer metastasis. Adhesion molecules are also capable of transmitting information from the extracellular matrix to the cell. There are four main groups: the integrin family, the immunoglobulin superfamily, selectins, and cadherins. These molecules contribute to the pathogenesis of a large number of common human disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis and tumor cell metastasis in cancer. In this review, the basic mechanisms of cellular adhesion, the characteristics of adhesion molecules, their physiological roles and therapeutic utility are summarized.
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