Epithelial-mesenchymal transition in morphogenesis, cancer progression and angiogenesis

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Abstract

All organs consist of an epithelium and an associated mesenchyme, so these epithelial-mesenchymal intercations are among the most important phenomena in nature. The aim of this article is the summarize the common mechanisms involved in the establishment of epithelial mesenchymal transition in three biological processes, namely organogenesis, tumor progression and metastasis, and angiogenesis, apparently independent each from other. A common feature of these processes is the fact that specialized epithelial cells lose their features, including cell adhesion and polarity, reorganize their cytoskeleton, and acquire a mesenchymal morphology and the ability to migrate.

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