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Chem Biol Interact. 2008 Jan 30;171(2):177-89. Epub 2007 Aug 15.

Regulation of endothelial permeability by Src kinase signaling: vascular leakage versus transcellular transport of drugs and macromolecules.

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Department of Pharmacology, Center for Lung and Vascular Biology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, United States.


An important function of the endothelium is to regulate the transport of liquid and solutes across the semi-permeable vascular endothelial barrier. Two cellular pathways have been identified controlling endothelial barrier function. The normally restrictive paracellular pathway, which can become "leaky" during inflammation when gaps are induced between endothelial cells at the level of adherens and tight junctional complexes, and the transcellular pathway, which transports plasma proteins the size of albumin via transcytosis in vesicle carriers originating from cell surface caveolae. During non-inflammatory conditions, caveolae-mediated transport may be the primary mechanism of vascular permeability regulation of fluid phase molecules as well as lipids, hormones, and peptides that bind avidly to albumin. Src family protein tyrosine kinases have been implicated in the upstream signaling pathways that lead to endothelial hyperpermeability through both the paracellular and transcellular pathways. Endothelial barrier dysfunction not only affects vascular homeostasis and cell metabolism, but also governs drug delivery to underlying cells and tissues. In this review of the field, we discuss the current understanding of Src signaling in regulating paracellular and transcellular endothelial permeability pathways and effects on endogenous macromolecule and drug delivery.

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