The Basement membrane is a layer of fiber that is located under epithelium or endothelium. The epithelium is the tissue that lines the surfaces and cavities of organs, whereas the endothelium lines the inside of blood vessels. It is made up of two district layers, the basal lamina and the reticular lamina which are joined together by collagen fibers. What is the function of this membrane? Read this article to discover more.
What is the function of the basement membrane?
The basement membrane has a number of important functions. However, the basement membranes main function is to anchor the epithelium to the connective tissue underneath. For example in the skin, the basement membrane keeps the layers of the skin attached to one another.
The basement membrane also provides a barrier between the tissue that lines the surface of organs and the internal tissues. It is able to prevent foreign materials and malignant (tumor or cancer) cells from penetrating the deeper tissues. Basement membranes are semi-permeable and only allow the passage of specific substances. The basement membrane that is located in the kidneys specifically filters out smaller molecules, while retaining large molecules such as proteins within the cells.
The basement membrane located on the interior of a blood vessel is involved in the process of angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is the development of new blood vessels and this occurs inside existing blood vessels. Specific enzymes are secreted by the cell which breaks down the basement membrane of the blood vessel allowing new vessels to be created from the endothelial cells.