Cytoskeleton, cytoskeletal interactions, and vascular endothelial function
Jingli Wang,1 Michael E Widlansky1,2
1Department of Medicine, Cardiovascular Medicine Division, 2Department of Pharmacology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Abstract: Far from being inert, the vascular endothelium is a critical regulator of vascular function. While the endothelium participates in autocrine, paracrine, and endocrine signaling, it also transduces mechanical signals from the cell surface involving key cell structural elements. In this review, we discuss the structure of the vascular endothelium and its relationship to traditional cardiovascular risk factors and clinical cardiovascular events. Further, we review the emerging evidence that cell structural elements, including the glycocalyx, intercellular junctions, and cytoskeleton elements, help the endothelium to communicate with its environment to regulate vascular function, including vessel permeability and signal transduction via nitric oxide bioavailability. Further work is necessary to better delineate the regulatory relationships between known key regulators of vascular function and endothelial cell structural elements.
Keywords: endothelium, shear stress, eNOS, cardiovascular risk factors, glycocalyx
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