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basement membrane

Friday 11 July 2003

Definition : The basement membranes are a specialized extracellular matrix underlying all epithelia, endothelia and surrounding muscle, adipose and Schwann cells.

In the embryo, the basal membrane is the first organized extracellular matrix to appear, underlying the trophodermal epithelia in the blastocyst.

Major constituents

- laminins
- collagen IV
- perlecan
- nidogen

Basement membranes and cancer

Basement membranes can be a barrier to tumour growth, but basement membrane molecules, including laminins, are also important autocrine factors produced by cancers to promote tumorigenesis.


- basement membrane thickening


- Kalluri R. Basement membranes: structure, assembly and role in tumour angiogenesis. Nat Rev Cancer. 2003 Jun;3(6):422-33. PMID: 12778132