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Cell adhesion



The binding of a cell to another cell or to an extracellular matrix component, essential in organ formation during embryonic development and in conferring structural framework and tissue maintenance


Cell adhesion may be through:

  • homophilic adhesion - where cell adhesion is facilitated by binding of similar adhesion molecules
  • heterophilic adhesion - where cell adhesion is facilitated by binding of unlike adhesion molecules

Without cell adhesion, the cells will be fluid as it is in certain diseases such as metastatic cancer and osteoporosis. Cell adhesion is, therefore, essential in tissue formation, angiogenesis, cell communication, and cell regulation.

Related term(s):


  • Goodman SR. 2008. Cell Adhesion and the Extracellular Matrix. In: Medical cell biology. 3rd ed. London: Academic Press. p191-226.

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