Cartilage is unique in being established as an avascular tissue during development. Cartilage also has the property of being resistant to tumor invasion with tumors arising on the periphery of cartilage and in bone, but sparing the cartilage. These properties have been investigated for many years beginning in the 1970's. Many anti-angiogenic molecules have been isolated from cartilage in small amounts. Portions of molecules from cartilage also possess anti-angiogenic properties when released from the parent protein by degradative extracellular enzymes. This review highlights a new anti-angiogenic and anti-tumor moiety from cartilage, the NH2-propeptide of type IIB collagen. When released from the procollagen during synthesis, the propeptide has the capacity to act on its own to protect the cartilage by killing of endothelial cell, osteoclasts and tumor cells.
- Type II collagen