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Abstract or Description

Endothelial cells are stimulated by shear stress throughout the vasculature and respond with changes in gene expression and by morphological reorganization. Mechanical sensors of the cell are varied and include cell surface sensors that activate intracellular chemical signaling pathways. Here, possible mechanical sensors of the cell including reorganization of the cytoskeleton and the nucleus are discussed in relation to shear flow. A mutation in the nuclear structural protein lamin A, related to Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, is reviewed specifically as the mutation results in altered nuclear structure and stiffer nuclei; animal models also suggest significantly altered vascular structure. Nuclear and cellular deformation of endothelial cells in response to shear stress provides partial understanding of possible mechanical regulation in the microcirculation. Increasing sophistication of fluid flow simulations inside the vessel is also an emerging area relevant to the microcirculation as visualization in situ is difficult. This integrated approach to study--including medicine, molecular and cell biology, biophysics and engineering--provides a unique understanding of multi-scale interactions in the microcirculation.





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Microcirculation, 17, 3, 179-191.