The endothelial cytoskeleton

  • Stephen H. Blose
Part of the Developments in Cardiovascular Medicine book series (DICM, volume 27)


Endothelial cells occupy a unique position in the body: they are the only cells that form an interface between a fluid moving under pressure — the blood — and a solid substrate — the vessel wall. As the vanguard of the vessel wall, the endothelial cells must work in part to maintain a smooth clot-free surface. To do this, the cells must remain attached to the vessel wall, maintain a flat epithelioid geometry to prevent turbulence, and be able to migrate and reproduce to cover any void that might occur in the endothelial lining of the blood vessel. It is thought that an intracellular skeleton or cytoskeleton (18, 45) is intimately involved in these functions as well as maintaining the order of the cytoplasm. Since the late 1960’s, there has been an explosive understanding of the biology of the cytoskeleton in nonmuscle cells. Many of the constituent proteins of the cytoskeleton have been identified and implicated in functions such as cell motility, intracellular transport, cell attachment, cell shape, and intracellular organellar movement — to name a few.


Endothelial Cell Thelial Cell Filament Bundle Cytoplasmic Microtubule Nonmuscle Cell 
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© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Boston 1984

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  • Stephen H. Blose

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