Medical Definition of Thrombospondin

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 10/30/2018

Thrombospondin: One of a family of glycoproteins (carbohydrates complexed with proteins) that are made in cells, secreted by cells, and incorporated into cells including blood platelets (thrombocytes) from which they take their name. Five distinct forms have been identified; they are termed thrombospondin-1, thrombospondin-2, thrombospondin-3, thrombospondin-4, and thrombospondin-5.

The thrombospondins are known to interact with blood coagulation and anticoagulant factors. They are involved in cell adhesion, platelet aggregation (clumping), cell proliferation (growth), angiogenesis (blood vessel formation), tumor metastasis, and tissue repair.

Thrombospondin-1 and thrombospondin-2 have been shown to be potent inhibitors of angiogenesis and suppressors of tumor growth in laboratory mice. (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1999;96:14888-14893.)

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Reviewed on 10/30/2018