Laminins and their receptors in the CNS

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Abstract

Laminin, an extracellular matrix protein, is widely expressed in the central nervous system (CNS). By interacting with integrin and non-integrin receptors, laminin exerts a large variety of important functions in the CNS in both physiological and pathological conditions. Due to the existence of many laminin isoforms and their differential expression in various cell types in the CNS, the exact functions of each individual laminin molecule in CNS development and homeostasis remain largely unclear. In this review, we first briefly introduce the structure and biochemistry of laminins and their receptors. Next, the dynamic expression of laminins and their receptors in the CNS during both development and in adulthood is summarized in a cell-type-specific manner, which allows appreciation of their functional redundancy/compensation. Furthermore, we discuss the biological functions of laminins and their receptors in CNS development, blood–brain barrier (BBB) maintenance, neurodegeneration, stroke, and neuroinflammation. Last, key challenges and potential future research directions are summarized and discussed. Our goals are to provide a synthetic review to stimulate future studies and promote the formation of new ideas/hypotheses and new lines of research in this field.

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