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Trends Cardiovasc Med. 2004 May;14(4):143-51.

Shear-induced reorganization of endothelial cell cytoskeleton and adhesion complexes.

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Toronto General Research Institute, University Health Network, University of Toronto, 200 Elizabeth Street, NU 133d Toronto, Ontario M5G 2C4, Canada.


Endothelial cells undergo profound morphologic changes in response to alterations in shear stresses that are imposed on them by blood flow, and these responses have important implications for physiologic and pathophysiologic function of blood vessels. Shear-induced changes in cell morphology represent a unique mode of cell motility: elongation of the cells in the direction of shear stress is achieved by a reorientation and assembly of F-actin stress fibers at the basal cell surface that ultimately protrudes the upstream and downstream limits of the plasma membrane. Shape change is also accommodated by dramatic reorganization of cell-substrate and cell-cell junctional complexes. Both of these structures are sites of mechanotransduction, which raises intriguing questions concerning how shear-induced regulation of endothelial cell physiology is integrated with cell morphologic responses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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