Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Natural Sciences in General
The aim of this contribution is to summarize our knowledge of the morphology of the basement membrane (BM). The first step in this direction is the attempt to define this term. The BM is composed of the Lamina lucida, densa, and fibroreticularis. Subsequently, the historical development of this term is discussed. Our main interest is, of course, focused on the description of the BM-structure up to the macromolecular level and the special forms of this structure. This is supplemented by discussing its chemical composition and establishing a relationship between morphology and biochemistry. The obtained findings yielded some indications as to the molecular composition of the BM which may serve for the construction of “models.” The composition of the Lamina lucida (L.l.) and the Lamina or Pars fibroreticularis (L.f.) must be discussed separately, since, if present, they show a different and strongly varying structure (L.f.). An important aspect is the function of this extracellular layer which comprises mechanical tasks up to inductive effects. Finally, the concepts of the formation of the BM, especially of the Lamina densa (L.d.), are summarized. It obviously consists of a sequence of individual steps which starts with expression and secretion of the L.d.-components and is followed by an induction of integrin expression. © 1994 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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