Effect of Hypergravity on Endothelial Cell Function and Gene Expression
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It is well known that endothelial cells (ECs), which play a major role in cardiovascular system functioning, are very sensitive to mechanical stimuli. It has been demonstrated that changes in inertial conditions (i.e. microgravity and hypergravity) can affect both phenotypic and genotypic expression in ECs. In this report we describe the effects of hypergravity on ECs isolated from bovine aorta (BAECs). ECs were repeatedly exposed to discontinuous hypergravity conditions (5 × 10 min at 10×g with 10 min at 1×g between sets), simulated in a hyperfuge. Then, cell morphology and metabolism were analyzed by autofluorescence techniques. The phenotypic expression of cytoskeleton constituents (β-actin, vimentin, tubulin), adhesion and survival signals (integrins), mediators of inflammation and angiogenesis was evaluated by immunocytofluorescence. Quantitative PCR (Q-PCR) with Low Density Arrays (LDAs) was used to evaluate modifications in gene expression. After hypergravity exposure, no significant changes were observed in cell morphology and energy metabolism. Cells remained adherent to the substratum, but integrin distribution was modified. Accordingly, the cytoskeletal network reorganized, documenting cell activation. There was a reduction in expression of genes controlling vasoconstriction and inflammation. Proapoptotic signals were downregulated. On the whole, the results documented that hypergravity exposure maintained EC survival and function by activation of adaptive mechanisms.
KeywordsHypergravity Endothelial cells Mechanotransduction
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