Extracellular Matrix

Tissue lesions will result in the degradation of the extracellular environment

In a living tissue, cells are surrounded by an environment composed of a variety of constituents, called the Extracellular Matrix (ECM), that plays a key role in tissue homeostasis (i.e. the capacity of a living tissue to maintain its functional equilibrium). When the natural homeostasis functions, cells are constantly produced in order to balance the continuous cell death.

Heparan Sulfates (HS) are polysaccharides, or large sugars, that store and protect the communication peptides needed to control the process behind cell multiplication, repair and migration. HS are therefore central to maintain homeostasis. Furthermore HS attach to other ECM components such as collagen and hyaluronic acid, functioning as a structural scaffold around cells.

  Following an injury, and as part of the natural tissue healing process, immune and inflammatory circulatory cells will aggregate at the site of the lesion and actively participate in the degradation process that precedes tissue repair releasing  enzymes to destroy the ECM components including the HS.

Communication peptides are thus left unprotected and degrade.