Substrate stiffness-dependent exacerbation of endothelial permeability and inflammation: mechanisms and potential implications in ALI and PH (2017 Grover Conference Series)

PVRI Member Authors: Anna Birukova


The maintenance of endothelial barrier integrity is absolutely essential to prevent the vascular leak associated with pneumonia, pulmonary edema resulting from inhalation of toxins, acute elevation to high altitude, traumatic and septic lung injury, acute lung injury (ALI), and its life-threatening complication, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). In addition to the long-known edemagenic and inflammatory agonists, emerging evidences suggest that factors of endothelial cell (EC) mechanical microenvironment such as blood flow, mechanical strain of the vessel, or extracellular matrix stiffness also play an essential role in the control of endothelial permeability and inflammation. Recent studies from our group and others have demonstrated that substrate stiffening causes endothelial barrier disruption and renders EC more susceptible to agonist-induced cytoskeletal rearrangement and inflammation. Further in vivo studies have provided direct evidence that proinflammatory stimuli increase lung microvascular stiffness which in turn exacerbates endothelial permeability and inflammation and perpetuates a vicious circle of lung inflammation. Accumulating evidence suggests a key role for RhoA GTPases signaling in stiffness-dependent mechanotransduction mechanisms defining EC permeability and inflammatory responses. Vascular stiffening is also known to be a key contributor to other cardiovascular diseases such as arterial pulmonary hypertension (PH), although the precise role of stiffness in the development and progression of PH remains to be elucidated. This review summarizes the current understanding of stiffness-dependent regulation of pulmonary EC permeability and inflammation, and discusses potential implication of pulmonary vascular stiffness alterations at macro- and microscale in development and modulation of ALI and PH.

Read the full article online


Endothelin and Endothelium & Epithelium and Epithelial Transport
Pulmonary Endothelium
Pulmonary Hypertension
Pulmonary Vascular Remodeling


Pratap Karki

Published in:

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 8: No 2 cover image

June 2018

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 8: No 2

View this journal

Our research platform is the world.

Through worldwide collaboration, we can begin to answer the question of a global disease.

Join the PVRI