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Cardiovasc Res. 2010 Jul 15;87(2):320-30. doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvq146. Epub 2010 Jun 12.

Shear stress and the endothelial transport barrier.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, The City College of New York, Convent Avenue at 140th Street, New York, NY 10031, USA.


The shear stress of flowing blood on the surfaces of endothelial cells that provide the barrier to transport of solutes and water between blood and the underlying tissue modulates the permeability to solutes and the hydraulic conductivity. This review begins with a discussion of transport pathways across the endothelium and then considers the experimental evidence from both in vivo and in vitro studies that shows an influence of shear stress on endothelial transport properties after both acute (minutes to hours) and chronic (hours to days) changes in shear stress. Next, the effects of shear stress on individual transport pathways (tight junctions, adherens junctions, vesicles and leaky junctions) are described, and this information is integrated with the transport experiments to suggest mechanisms controlling both acute and chronic responses of transport properties to shear stress. The review ends with a summary of future research challenges.

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