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PLoS One. 2013 Jul 2;8(7):e67675. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067675. Print 2013.

Shear stress regulates late EPC differentiation via mechanosensitive molecule-mediated cytoskeletal rearrangement.

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  • 1Medicine Research Center, Weifang Medical University, Weifang, Shandong, P R China. chengmin1976@wfmc.edu.cn



Previous studies have demonstrated that endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), in particular late EPCs, play important roles in endothelial maintenance and repair. Recent evidence has revealed shear stress as a key regulator for EPC differentiation. However, the underlying mechanisms regulating the shear stress-induced EPC differentiation have not been understood completely. The present study was undertaken to further investigate the effects of shear stress on the late EPC differentiation, and to elucidate the signal mechanism involved.


In vitro and in vivo assays revealed that cytoskeletal remodeling was involved in the shear stress-upregulated expression of endothelial markers vWF and CD31 in late EPCs, with subsequently increased in vivo reendothelialization after arterial injury. Moreover, shear stress activated several mechanosensitive molecules including integrin β1, Ras, ERK1/2, paxillin and FAK, which were all involved in both cytoskeletal rearrangement and cell differentiation in response to shear stress in late EPCs.


Shear stress is a key regulator for late EPC differentiation into endothelial cells, which is important for vascular repair, and the cytoskeletal rearrangement mediated by the activation of the cascade of integrin β1, Ras, ERK1/2, paxillin and FAK is crucial in this process.

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