Role of stress fibers and focal adhesions as a mediator for mechano-signal transduction in endothelial cells in situ
Kazuo Katoh, Yumiko Kano, Shigeo Ookawara
Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Jichi Medical University, Yakushiji, Shimotsuke-city, Tochigi, Japan
Abstract: Fluid shear stress is the mechanical force generated by the blood flow which is applied over the apical surface of endothelial cells in situ. The findings of a recent study suggest that stress fibers and its associated focal adhesions play roles in mechano-signal transduction mechanism. Stress fibers are present along the apical and the basal portion of the endothelial cells. Endothelial cells respond to fluid shear stress and change their morphological characteristics in both their cell shape and cytoskeletal organization. Atherosclerosis is a common disease of the arteries and it occurs in areas around the branching site of blood vessels where the cells are exposed to low fluid shear stress. The organization of stress fibers and focal adhesions are strongly influenced by shear stress, and therefore the generation of atherosclerotic lesions seem to be associated with the cytoskeletal components of endothelial cells. This review describes the possible role of the cytoskeleton as a mechano-transducer in endothelial cells in situ.
Keywords: atherosclerosis, blood vessel, endothelial cell, cytoskeleton, stress fiber, focal adhesion
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