The endothelium is a highly organized interconnected network of cells that controls every aspect of vascular function including: arterial tone, blood clotting, vascular permeability, angiogenesis, smooth muscle proliferation and vascular remodelling in disease. However the precise mechanisms by which the endothelium receives, interprets, and responds to multiple stimuli to make a decision on a physiological response lie beyond current understanding.
Flow-mediated endothelial Ca2+ Signalling
The ubiquitous second messenger calcium is central to relaying information within and between cells.
Calcium signals can be initiated in the endothelium by mechano-stimuli such as changes in blood flow, and by various chemical mediators acting in an auto- or paracrine manner.
In our lab, we examine mechanically- and chemically-evoked calcium signals from every endothelial cell, from a large field of view (~1000 cells), in native and diseased tissue. In doing so, we are beginning to tease apart the complex nature by which calcium is able to relay messages within the vessel wall. Individual cells do not respond in unison to an activator but instead, endothelial cells are highly heterogenous across the endothelium.