Elastin, the major component of the elastic fibers, is well known for its ability to confer elasticity to extensible tissues such as arteries, lung and skin. Besides this property, it is now demonstrated that some soluble derivatives of elastin also exhibit biological activities and they are able to modify cellular behaviour after interaction with a specific receptor. The identification of the sequences responsible for biological activity and the study of their structure are important steps in the elucidation of the role that they may play in the regulation of biological events in both pathologic and physiologic conditions. Presently, several elastin-derived peptides able to promote cellular migration, and to modify vascular tone and platelet aggregant properties have been identified. Furthermore, potentially harmful effects of the elastin peptides, such as increase of elastase and radical production were reported.
In this review the authors summarise recent studies on the biological activities of elastin-related peptides.
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