The extracellular matrix protein, fibronectin (FN), is focally deposited in regions of atherosclerosis where it contributes to inflammatory signaling.
To elucidate the mechanism by which FN deposition is regulated by local shear stress patterns, its dependence on PECAM-1 mechanotransduction, and the role this pathway plays in sustaining an atheroprone/pro-inflammatory phenotype.
Methods and Results
Human endothelial cells were exposed in vitro to atheroprone or atheroprotective shear stress patterns derived from human carotid arteries. Onset of atheroprotective flow induced a transient increase in FN deposition, whereas atheroprone flow caused a steady increase in FN expression and integrin activation over time, leading to a significant and sustained increase in FN deposition relative to atheroprotective conditions. Comparing FN staining in ApoE−/− and ApoE−/−PECAM−/− mice showed that PECAM-1 was essential for FN accumulation in atheroprone regions of the aortic arch. In vitro, siRNA against PECAM-1 blocked the induction of FN and the activation of NF-κB by atheroprone flow, which was rescued by the addition of exogenous FN. Additionally, blocking NF-κB activation attenuated the flow-induced FN expression. siRNA against FN significantly reduced NF-κB activity, which was rescued by the addition of exogenous FN.
These results indicate that FN gene expression and assembly into matrix fibrils is induced by atheroprone fluid shear stress. This effect is mediated at least in part by the transcription factor NF-κB. Additionally, because FN promotes activation of NF-κB, atheroprone shear stress creates a positive feedback to maintain inflammation.
hemodynamics; atherosclerosis; fibronectin
Platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1, CD31) has recently been shown to form an essential element of a mechanosensory complex that mediates endothelial responses to fluid shear stress. The aim of this study was to determine the in vivo role of PECAM-1 in atherosclerosis.
Methods and Results
We crossed C57BL/6 Pecam1−/− mice with apolipoprotein E–deficient (Apoe−/−) mice. On a Western diet, Pecam1−/−Apoe−/− mice showed reduced atherosclerotic lesion size compared to Apoe−/− mice. Striking differences were observed in the lesser curvature of the aortic arch, an area of disturbed flow, but not in the descending thoracic or abdominal aorta. Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) expression, macrophage infiltration, and endothelial nuclear NF-κB were all reduced in Pecam1−/−Apoe−/− mice. Bone marrow transplantation suggested that endothelial PECAM-1 is the main determinant of atherosclerosis in the aortic arch, but that hematopoietic PECAM-1 promotes lesions in the abdominal aorta. In vitro data show that siRNA-based knockdown of PECAM-1 attenuates endothelial NF-κB activity and VCAM-1 expression under conditions of atheroprone flow.
These results indicate that endothelial PECAM-1 contributes to atherosclerotic lesion formation in regions of disturbed flow by regulating NF-κB–mediated gene expression.
atherosclerosis; shear stress sensing; adhesion molecules; endothelium; macrophages
Complex hemodynamics play a role in the localization and development of atherosclerosis. Endothelial cells (ECs) lining blood vessel walls are directly influenced by various hemodynamic forces: simultaneous wall shear stress (WSS), normal stress, and circumferential stress/strain (CS) due to pulsatile flow, pressure, and diameter changes. ECs sense and transduce these forces into biomolecular responses that may affect intercellular junctions. In this study, a hemodynamic simulator was used to investigate the combined effects of WSS and CS on EC junctions with emphasis on the stress phase angle (SPA), the temporal phase difference between WSS and CS. Regions of the circulation with highly negative SPA, such as the coronary arteries and carotid bifurcation, are more susceptible to the development of atherosclerosis. At 5 h, expression of the tight junction protein zonula occludens-1 was significantly higher for the atheroprotective SPA = 0° compared to the atherogenic SPA = −180° while the apoptosis rate was significantly higher for SPA = −180° than SPA = 0°. This decrease in tight junction protein and increase in apoptosis and associated leaky junctions suggest a decreased junctional stability and a higher paracellular permeability for atherogenic macromolecules for the atherogenic SPA = −180° compared to SPA = 0°.
Stress phase angle (SPA); Hemodynamics; Atherosclerosis; Permeability; Apoptosis; ZO-1
Hemodynamic shear stress, the blood flow-generated frictional force acting on the vascular endothelial cells, is essential for endothelial homeostasis under normal physiological conditions. Mechanosensors on endothelial cells detect shear stress and transduce it into biochemical signals to trigger vascular adaptive responses. Among the various shear-induced signaling molecules, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide (NO) have been implicated in vascular homeostasis and diseases. In this review, we explore the molecular, cellular, and vascular processes arising from shear-induced signaling (mechanotransduction) with emphasis on the roles of ROS and NO, and also discuss the mechanisms that may lead to excessive vascular remodeling and thus drive pathobiologic processes responsible for atherosclerosis. Current evidence suggests that NADPH oxidase is one of main cellular sources of ROS generation in endothelial cells under flow condition. Flow patterns and magnitude of shear determine the amount of ROS produced by endothelial cells, usually an irregular flow pattern (disturbed or oscillatory) producing higher levels of ROS than a regular flow pattern (steady or pulsatile). ROS production is closely linked to NO generation and elevated levels of ROS lead to low NO bioavailability, as is often observed in endothelial cells exposed to irregular flow. The low NO bioavailability is partly caused by the reaction of ROS with NO to form peroxynitrite, a key molecule which may initiate many pro-atherogenic events. This differential production of ROS and RNS (reactive nitrogen species) under various flow patterns and conditions modulates endothelial gene expression and thus results in differential vascular responses. Moreover, ROS/RNS are able to promote specific post-translational modifications in regulatory proteins (including S-glutathionylation, S-nitrosylation and tyrosine nitration), which constitute chemical signals that are relevant in cardiovascular pathophysiology. Overall, the dynamic interplay between local hemodynamic milieu and the resulting oxidative and S-nitrosative modification of regulatory proteins is important for ensuing vascular homeostasis. Based on available evidence, it is proposed that a regular flow pattern produces lower levels of ROS and higher NO bioavailability, creating an anti-atherogenic environment. On the other hand, an irregular flow pattern results in higher levels of ROS and yet lower NO bioavailability, thus triggering pro-atherogenic effects.
Endothelial cell; Mechanotransduction; Reactive oxygen species (ROS); Nitric oxide (NO); Shear stress; Flow pattern
The present review presents basic concepts of blood rheology related to vascular diseases. Blood flow in large arteries is dominated by inertial forces exhibited at high flow velocities, while viscous forces (i.e., blood rheology) play an almost negligible role. When high flow velocity is compromised by sudden deceleration as at a bifurcation, endothelial cell dysfunction can occur along the outer wall of the bifurcation, initiating inflammatory gene expression and, through mechanotransduction, the cascade of events associated with atherosclerosis. In sharp contrast, the flow of blood in microvessels is dominated by viscous shear forces since the inertial forces are negligible due to low flow velocities. Shear stress is a critical parameter in microvascular flow, and a force-balance approach is proposed for determining microvascular shear stress, accounting for the low Reynolds numbers and the dominance of viscous forces over inertial forces. Accordingly, when the attractive forces between erythrocytes (represented by the yield stress of blood) are greater than the shear force produced by microvascular flow, tissue perfusion itself cannot be sustained, leading to capillary loss. The yield stress parameter is presented as a diagnostic candidate for future clinical research, specifically, as a fluid dynamic biomarker for microvascular disorders. The relation between the yield stress and diastolic blood viscosity (DBV) is described using the Casson model for viscosity, from which one may be able determine thresholds of DBV where the risk of microvascular disorders is high.
Blood viscosity; Hemorheology; Angina, microvascular
Dystrophin has a key role in striated muscles mechanotransduction of physical forces. Although cytoskeletal elements play a major role in the mechanotransduction of pressure and flow in vascular cells, the role of dystrophin in vascular functions has not yet been investigated. Thus we studied endothelial and muscular responses of arteries isolated from mice lacking dystrophin (mdx).
Methods and results
Carotid and mesenteric resistance arteries (120μm diameter) were isolated and mounted in vitro in an arteriograph to control intraluminal pressure and flow. Blood pressure was not affected by the absence of dystrophin. Pressure (myogenic)-, phenylephrine- and KCl-induced tone were unchanged. Flow (shear stress) -induced dilation in arteries isolated from mdx mice was decreased by 50 to 60%, whereas dilation to acetylcholine or sodium nitroprusside were unaffected. L-NAME-sensitive flow-dilation was also decreased in arteries from mdx mice. Thus the absence of dystrophin was associated to a defect in signal transduction of shear stress. Dystrophin was present in vascular endothelial and smooth muscle cells, as shown by immunolocalization and localized at the level of the plasma membrane, as seen by confocal microscopy of perfused isolated arteries.
This is the first functional study of arteries lacking the gene for dystrophin. Vascular reactivity was normal with the exception of flow-induced dilation. Thus dystrophin could play a specific role in shear stress-mechanotransduction in arterial endothelial cells. Organs damages in diseases such as Duchenne’s dystrophy might be aggravated by such a defectuous arterial response to flow.
Dystrophin plays an active role in the transduction of mechanical forces in striated muscle. We showed that the absence of dystrophin altered specifically the mechanotransduction of shear stress due to flow by the endothelium of arteries isolated from mice lacking the gene for dystrophin (mdx), whereas other forms of vascular tone, dilators or constrictors, were unaffected.
Thus dystrophin plays a specific role in shear stress-mechanotransduction in arterial endothelial cells. Finally, organs damages in diseases such as Duchenne’s dystrophy might be aggravated by defectuous arterial responses to changes in blood flow.
Acetylcholine; pharmacology; Analysis of Variance; Animals; Blood Flow Velocity; Blood Pressure; Calcium; pharmacology; Carotid Arteries; drug effects; metabolism; Dystrophin; analysis; deficiency; genetics; Endothelium; Vascular; drug effects; physiology; Humans; Mesenteric Arteries; drug effects; metabolism; Mice; Mice; Inbred mdx; Microscopy; Confocal; Muscle; Skeletal; blood supply; drug effects; physiology; Nitroprusside; pharmacology; Phenylephrine; pharmacology; Potassium Chloride; pharmacology; Signal Transduction; Vasodilation; drug effects
Mechanical forces associated with blood flow play important roles in the acute control of vascular tone, the regulation of arterial structure and remodeling, and the localization of atherosclerotic lesions. Major regulation of the blood vessel responses occurs by the action of hemodynamic shear stresses on the endothelium. The transmission of hemodynamic forces throughout the endothelium and the mechanotransduction mechanisms that lead to biophysical, biochemical, and gene regulatory responses of endothelial cells to hemodynamic shear stresses are reviewed.
Mechanical forces regulate cell behavior and function during development, differentiation, and tissue morphogenesis. In the vascular system, forces produced by blood flow are critical determinants not only of morphogenesis and function, but also pathological states such as atherosclerosis. Endothelial cells (ECs) have numerous mechanotransducers, including platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1) at cell-cell junctions and integrins at cell-matrix adhesions. However, the processes by which forces are transduced to biochemical signals and subsequently translated into downstream effects are poorly understood.
Here, we examine mechanochemical signaling in response to direct force application on PECAM-1. We demonstrate that localized tensional forces on PECAM-1 result in, surprisingly, global signaling responses. Specifically, force-dependent activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) downstream of PECAM-1 promotes cell-wide activation of integrins and the small GTPase RhoA. These signaling events facilitate changes in cytoskeletal architecture, including growth of focal adhesions and adaptive cytoskeletal stiffening.
Taken together, our work provides the first evidence of a global signaling event in response to a localized mechanical stress. In addition, these data provide a possible mechanism for the differential stiffness of vessels exposed to distinct hemodynamic force patterns in vivo.
The endothelium lining the inner surface of blood vessels of the cardiovascular system is constantly exposed to hemodynamic shear stress. The interaction between endothelial cells and hemodynamic shear stress has critical implications for atherosclerosis. Regions of arterial narrowing, curvatures, and bifurcations are especially susceptible to atherosclerotic lesion formation. In such areas, endothelial cells experience low, or oscillatory, shear stress. Corresponding changes in endothelial cell structure and function make them susceptible to the initiation and development of atherosclerosis. In contrast, blood flow with high laminar shear stress activates signal transductions as well as gene and protein expressions that play important roles in vascular homeostasis. In response to laminar shear stress, the release of vasoactive substances such as nitric oxide and prostacyclin decreases permeability to plasma lipoproteins as well as the adhesion of leukocytes, and inhibits smooth muscle cell proliferation and migration. In summary, different flow patterns directly determine endothelial cell morphology, metabolism, and inflammatory phenotype through signal transduction and gene and protein expression. Thus, high laminar shear stress plays a key role in the prevention of atherosclerosis through its regulation of vascular tone and long-term maintenance of the integrity and function of endothelial cells. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 11, 1669–1682.
Vascular remodeling is a physiological process that occurs in response to long-term changes in hemodynamic conditions, but may also contribute to the pathophysiology of intima-media thickening (IMT) and vascular disease. Shear stress detection by the endothelium is thought to be an important determinant of vascular remodeling. Previous work showed that Platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1) is a component of a mechanosensory complex that mediates endothelial cell (EC) responses to shear stress.
METHODS AND RESULTS
We tested the hypothesis that PECAM-1 contributes to vascular remodeling by analyzing the response to partial carotid artery ligation in PECAM-1 knockout mice and wild-type littermates. PECAM-1 deficiency resulted in impaired vascular remodeling and significantly reduced IMT in areas of low flow. Inward remodeling was associated with PECAM-1-dependent NFκB activation, surface adhesion molecule expression and leukocyte infiltration as well as Akt activation and vascular cell proliferation.
PECAM-1 plays a crucial role in the activation of the NFκB and Akt pathways and inflammatory cell accumulation during vascular remodeling and IMT. Elucidation of some of the signals that drive vascular remodeling represent pharmacologically tractable targets for the treatment of restenosis after balloon angioplasty or stent placement.
hemodynamics; vascular remodeling; intima-media thickening; inflammation
Vascular endothelial cells lining the blood vessels form the interface between the bloodstream and the vessel wall and as such they are continuously subjected to shear and cyclic stress from the flowing blood in the lumen. Additional mechanical stimuli are also imposed on these cells in the form of substrate stiffness transmitted from the extracellular matrix components in the basement membrane, and additional mechanical loads imposed on to lung endothelium as result of respiration or mechanical ventilation in clinical settings. Focal adhesions (FAs) are complex structures assembled at the abluminal endothelial plasma membrane which connect the extracellular filamentous meshwork to the intracellular cytoskeleton and hence constitute the ideal checkpoint capable of controlling or mediating transduction of bidirectional mechanical signals. In this review we focus on focal adhesion kinase (FAK), a component of FAs, which has been studied for a number of years with regards to its involvement in mechanotransduction. We analyzed the recent advances in the understanding of the role of FAK in the signaling cascade(s) initiated by various mechanical stimuli with particular emphasis on potential implications on endothelial cell functions.
cyclic stretch; shear stress; migration; permeability; apoptosis; cytoskeleton; focal adhesions; protein phosphorylation
Mechanotransduction, the process by which cells convert external mechanical stimuli such as fluid shear stress (FSS) into biochemical changes, plays a critical role in maintenance of the skeleton. We have proposed that mechanical stimulation by FSS across the surfaces of bone cells results in formation of unique signaling complexes called mechanosomes that are launched from sites of adhesion with the extracellular matrix and with other bone cells . Deformation of adhesion complexes at the cell membrane ultimately results in alteration of target gene expression. Recently, we reported that focal adhesion kinase (FAK) functions as a part of a mechanosome complex that is required for FSS-induced mechanotransduction in bone cells. This study extends this work to examine the role of a second member of the FAK family of non-receptor protein tyrosine kinases, proline-rich tyrosine kinase 2 (Pyk2), and determine its role during osteoblast mechanotransduction. We use osteoblasts harvested from mice as our model system in this study and compared the contributions of Pyk2 and FAK during FSS induced mechanotransduction in osteoblasts. We exposed Pyk2+/+ and Pyk2−/− primary calvarial osteoblasts to short period of oscillatory fluid flow and analyzed downstream activation of ERK1/2, and expression of c-fos, cyclooxygenase-2 and osteopontin. Unlike FAK, Pyk2 was not required for fluid flow-induced mechanotransduction as there was no significant difference in the response of Pyk2+/+ and Pyk2−/− osteoblasts to short periods of fluid flow (FF). In contrast, and as predicted, FAK−/− osteoblasts were unable to respond to FF. These data indicate that FAK and Pyk2 have distinct, non-redundant functions in launching mechanical signals during osteoblast mechanotransduction. Additionally, we compared two methods of generating FF in both cell types, oscillatory pump method and another orbital platform method. We determined that both methods of generating FF induced similar responses in both primary calvarial osteoblasts and immortalized calvarial osteoblasts.
Understanding how vascular wall endothelial cells (ECs), smooth muscle cells (SMCs), and fibroblasts (FBs) sense and transduce the stimuli of hemodynamic forces (shear stress, cyclic strain, and hydrostatic pressure) into intracellular biochemical signals is critical to prevent vascular disease development and progression. ECs lining the vessel lumen directly sense alterations in blood flow shear stress and then communicate with medial SMCs and adventitial FBs to regulate vessel function and disease. Shear stress mechanotransduction in ECs has been extensively studied and reviewed. In the case of endothelial damage, blood flow shear stress may directly act on the superficial layer of SMCs and transmural interstitial flow may be elevated on medial SMCs and adventitial FBs. Therefore, it is also important to investigate direct shear effects on vascular SMCs as well as FBs. The work published in the last two decades has shown that shear stress and interstitial flow have significant influences on vascular SMCs and FBs. This review summarizes work that considered direct shear effects on SMCs and FBs and provides the first comprehensive overview of the underlying mechanisms that modulate SMC secretion, alignment, contraction, proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation, and migration in response to 2-dimensional (2D) laminar, pulsatile, and oscillating flow shear stresses and 3D interstitial flow. A mechanistic model of flow sensing by SMCs is also provided to elucidate possible mechanotransduction pathways through surface glycocalyx, integrins, membrane receptors, ion channels, and primary cilia. Understanding flow-mediated mechanotransduction in SMCs and FBs and the interplay with ECs should be helpful in exploring strategies to prevent flow-initiated atherosclerosis and neointima formation and has implications in vascular tissue engineering.
Shear stress; Interstitial flow; Mechanobiology; Flow sensing; Glycocalyx; Endothelial cell; Vascular lesion formation; 3-Dimensional; Tissue engineering
The fibroblast growth factor (FGF) system plays a critical role in the maintenance of vascular integrity via enhancing the stability of VE-cadherin at adherens junctions. However, the precise molecular mechanism is not well understood. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the detailed mechanism of FGF regulation of VE-cadherin function that leads to endothelial junction stabilization.
Methods and Findings
In vitro studies demonstrated that the loss of FGF signaling disrupts the VE-cadherin-catenin complex at adherens junctions by increasing tyrosine phosphorylation levels of VE-cadherin. Among protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) known to be involved in the maintenance of the VE-cadherin complex, suppression of FGF signaling reduces SHP2 expression levels and SHP2/VE-cadherin interaction due to accelerated SHP2 protein degradation. Increased endothelial permeability caused by FGF signaling inhibition was rescued by SHP2 overexpression, indicating the critical role of SHP2 in the maintenance of endothelial junction integrity.
These results identify FGF-dependent maintenance of SHP2 as an important new mechanism controlling the extent of VE-cadherin tyrosine phosphorylation, thereby regulating its presence in adherens junctions and endothelial permeability.
Vascular endothelial cells (ECs) play significant roles in regulating circulatory functions. The shear stress resulting from blood flow modulates EC functions by activating mechano-sensors, signaling pathways, and gene and protein expressions. Shear stress with a clear direction resulting form pulsatile or steady flow causes only transient activation of pro-inflammatory and proliferative pathways, which become down-regulated when such directed shearing is sustained. In contrast, shear flow without a definitive direction (e.g., disturbed flow in regions of complex geometry) causes sustained molecular signaling of pro-inflammatory and proliferative pathways. The EC responses to shear flows with a clear direction involve the remodeling of EC structure to maintain vascular homeostasis and are atheroprotective. Such regulatory mechanism does not operate effectively when the flow pattern is disturbed. Therefore, the branch points and other regions of the arterial tree with a complex geometry are prone to atherogenesis, whereas the straight part of the arterial tree is generally spared. Understanding of the EC responses to different flow patters helps to elucidate the mechanism of the region-specific localization of atherosclerosis in the arterial system.
Gene expression; Mechanotransduction; Proliferation; Shear stress; Signal transduction
In blood vessels, endothelia are submitted to constant shear effects and are, under normal conditions, capable of responding to any variation in hemodynamic forces. Caveolae — 50- to 100-nm plasma membrane invaginations present at the surface of terminally differentiated cells and particularly enriched in ECs — are composed of a high sphingolipid and cholesterol content and the protein caveolin-1 (Cav-1). Previous studies have suggested that caveolae and endothelial Cav-1 may regulate the vascular response to altered shear stress. In this issue of the JCI, Yu et al. have examined the role of Cav-1/caveolae in the regulation of flow-induced alterations (i.e., mechanotransduction) in vessels from wild-type mice, Cav-1–deficient mice, and Cav-1–deficient mice re-expressing Cav-1 only in ECs. Their data suggest that caveolae/Cav-1 may act as sensors of altered shear stress and that they also organize the signaling response in stimulated ECs (see the related article beginning on page 1284).
Endothelial cells form cell-cell adhesive structures, called adherens and tight junctions, which maintain tissue integrity, but must be dynamic for leukocyte transmigration during the inflammatory response and cellular remodeling during angiogenesis. This review will focus on Vascular Endothelial (VE)-cadherin, an endothelial-specific cell-cell adhesion protein of the adherens junction complex. VE-cadherin plays a key role in endothelial barrier function and angiogenesis, and consequently VE-cadherin availability and function are tightly regulated. VE-cadherin also participates directly and indirectly in intracellular signaling pathways that control cell dynamics and cell cycle progression. Here we highlight recent work that has advanced our understanding of multiple regulatory and signaling mechanisms that converge on VE-cadherin and have consequences for endothelial barrier function and angiogenic remodeling.
Chronic alterations in blood flow initiate structural changes in vessel lumen caliber to normalize shear stress. The loss of endothelial derived nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) in mice promotes abnormal flow dependent vascular remodeling, thus uncoupling mechanotransduction from adaptive vascular remodeling. However, the mechanisms of how the loss of eNOS promotes abnormal remodeling are not known. Here we show that abnormal flow-dependent remodeling in eNOS knockout mice (eNOS (−/−)) is associated with activation of the platelet derived growth factor (PDGF) signaling pathway leading to the induction of the inhibitor of apoptosis, survivin. Interfering with PDGF signaling or survivin function corrects the abnormal remodeling seen in eNOS (−/−) mice. Moreover, nitric oxide (NO) negatively regulates PDGF driven survivin expression and cellular proliferation in cultured vascular smooth muscle cells. Collectively, our data suggests that eNOS negatively regulates the PDGF-survivin axis to maintain proportional flow-dependent luminal remodeling and vascular quiescence.
Shear stress is one of mechanical constraints which are exerted by blood flow on endothelial cells (ECs). To adapt to shear stress, ECs align in the direction of flow through adherens junction (AJ) remodeling. However, mechanisms regulating ECs alignment under shear stress are poorly understood. The scaffold protein IQ domain GTPase activating protein 1 (IQGAP1) is a scaffold protein which couples cell signaling to the actin and microtubule cytoskeletons and is involved in cell migration and adhesion. IQGAP1 also plays a role in AJ organization in epithelial cells. In this study, we investigated the potential IQGAP1 involvement in the endothelial cells alignment under shear stress. Progenitor-derived endothelial cells (PDECs), transfected (or not) with IQGAP1 small interfering RNA, were exposed to a laminar shear stress (1.2 N/m2) and AJ proteins (VE-cadherin and β-catenin) and IQGAP1 were labeled by immunofluorescence. We show that IQGAP1 is essential for ECs alignment under shear stress. We studied the role of IQGAP1 in AJs remodeling of PDECs exposed to shear stress by studying cell localization and IQGAP1 interactions with VE-cadherin and β-catenin by immunofluorescence and Proximity Ligation Assays. In static conditions, IQGAP1 interacts with VE-cadherin but not with β-catenin at the cell membrane. Under shear stress, IQGAP1 lost its interaction from VE-cadherin to β-catenin. This “switch” was concomitant with the loss of β-catenin/VE-cadherin interaction at the cell membrane. This work shows that IQGAP1 is essential to ECs alignment under shear stress and that AJ remodeling represents one of the mechanisms involved. These results provide a new approach to understand ECs alignment under to shear stress.
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.
atherosclerosis; blood vessel; endothelial cell; cytoskeleton; stress fiber; focal adhesion
It has become evident that mechanical forces play a key role in cancer metastasis, a complex series of steps that is responsible for the majority of cancer-related deaths. One such force is fluid shear stress, exerted on circulating tumor cells by blood flow in the vascular microenvironment, and also on tumor cells exposed to slow interstitial flows in the tumor microenvironment. Computational and experimental models have the potential to elucidate metastatic behavior of cells exposed to such forces. Here, we review the fluid-generated forces that tumor cells are exposed to in the vascular and tumor microenvironments, and discuss recent computational and experimental models that have revealed mechanotransduction phenomena that may play a role in the metastatic process.
cancer metastasis; circulating tumor cells; mechanotransduction; shear stress; blood; interstitial flow
Bone interstitial fluid flow is thought to play a fundamental role in the mechanical stimulation of bone cells, either via shear stresses or cytoskeletal deformations. Recent evidence indicates that osteocytes are surrounded by a fiber matrix that may be involved in the mechanotransduction of external stimuli as well as in nutrient exchange. In our previous tracer studies designed to map how different-sized molecules travel through the bone porosities, we found that injected ferritin was confined to blood vessels and did not pass into the mineralized matrix. However, other investigators have shown that ferritin forms halo-shaped labeling that enters the mineralized matrix around blood vessels. This labeling is widely used to explain normal interstitial fluid movement in bone; in particular, it is said to demonstrate bulk centrifugal interstitial fluid movement away from a highly pressurized vascular porosity. In addition, appositional ferritin fronts are said to demonstrate centrifugal interstitial fluid movement from the medullary canal to the periosteal surface. The purpose of this study was to investigate the conflicting ferritin labeling results by evaluating the role of different histological processes in the formation of ferritin “halos.” Ferritin was injected into the rat vasculature and allowed to circulate for 5 min. Samples obtained from tibiae were reacted for different times with Perl's reagent and then were either paraffin-embedded or sectioned with a cryostat. Halo-like labeling surrounding vascular pores was found in all groups, ranging from 1.2–3.9% for the samples treated with the shortest histological processes (unembedded, frozen sections) to 5.6–15% for the samples treated with the longest histological processes (paraffin-embedded sections). These results indicate that different histological processing methods are able to create ferritin “halos,” with some processing methods allowing more redistribution of the ferritin tracer than others. Based on these results and the fact that “halo” labeling has not been found with any other tracer, as we seek to further delineate the movement of interstitial fluid and the role it plays in bone mechanotransduction, we believe that ferritin “halo” labeling should not be used to demonstrate physiological bone interstitial fluid flow.
Bone permeability; Physiological transport; Bone metabolism; Osteocyte; Lacunar–canalicular porosity
Destabilization of cell-cell contacts involved in the maintenance of endothelial barrier function can lead to increased endothelial permeability. This increase in endothelial permeability results in an anarchical movement of fluid, solutes and cells outside the vasculature and into the surrounding tissues, thereby contributing to various diseases such as stroke or pulmonary edema. Thus, a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating endothelial cell junction integrity is required for developing new therapies for these diseases. In this review, we describe the mechanotransduction mechanism at the basis of adherens junction strengthening at endothelial cell-cell contacts. More particularly, we report on the emerging role of α-catenin and EPLIN that act as a mechanotransmitter of myosin-IIgenerated traction forces. The interplay between α-catenin, EPLIN and the myosin-II machinery initiates the junctional recruitment of vinculin and α-actinin leading to a drastic remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton and to cortical actin ring reshaping. The pathways initiated by tyrosine phosphorylation of VE-cadherin at the basis of endothelial cell–cell junction remodeling is also reported, as it may be interrelated to α-catenin/ EPLIN-mediated mechanotransduction mechanisms. We also describe the junctional mechanosensory complex composed of PECAM-1, VE-cadherin and VEGFR2 that is able to transmit signaling pathway under the onset of shear stress. This mechanosensing mechanism, involved in the earliest events promoting atherogenesis, is required for endothelial cell alignment along flow direction.
adherens junctions; biology of endothelial barrier; junction and cancer; junction and signaling; leukocyte-endothelial interactions
The integrity of the endothelial monolayer is essential to blood vessel homeostasis and active regulation of endothelial permeability. The FGF system plays important roles in a wide variety of physiologic and pathologic conditions; however, its role in the adult vasculature has not been defined. To assess the role of the FGF system in the adult endothelial monolayer, we disrupted FGF signaling in bovine aortic endothelial cells and human saphenous vein endothelial cells in vitro and in adult mouse and rat endothelial cells in vivo using soluble FGF traps or a dominant inhibitor of all FGF receptors. The inhibition of FGF signaling using these approaches resulted in dissociation of the VE-cadherin/p120-catenin complex and disassembly of adherens and tight junctions, which progressed to loss of endothelial cells, severe impairment of the endothelial barrier function, and finally, disintegration of the vasculature. Thus, FGF signaling plays a key role in the maintenance of vascular integrity.
The endothelial glycocalyx layer is a ~2 µm thick glycosaminoglycan rich pericellular matrix expressed on the luminal surface of vascular endothelial cells, which has implications in vessel mechanics and mechanotransduction. Despite its role in vascular physiology, no direct measurement has of yet been made of vessel glycocalyx material properties. Vaterite microviscometry is a laser tweezers based microrheological method, which has been previously utilized to measure the viscosity of linear and complex fluids under flow. This form of microrheology has until now relied on complete recollection of the forward scattered light. Here we present a novel method to extend vaterite microviscometry to relatively thick samples. We validate our method and its assumptions and measure the apparent viscosity as a function of distance from the vascular endothelium. We observe a differential response in conditions designed to preserve the EGL in comparison to those designed to collapse it.
(140.7010) Laser trapping; (160.1435) Biomaterials; (170.4520) Optical confinement and manipulation