Endothelium critically regulates systemic and pulmonary vascular function, playing a central role in hemostasis, inflammation, vasoregulation, angiogenesis, and vascular growth. Indeed, the endothelium integrates signals originating in the circulation with those in the vessel wall to coordinate vascular function. This highly metabolic role differs significantly from the historic view of endothelium, in which it was considered to be merely an inert barrier. New lines of evidence may further change our understanding of endothelium, in regard to both its origin and function. Embryological studies suggest that the endothelium arises from different sites, including angiogenesis of endothelium from macrovascular segments and vasculogenesis of endothelium from microcirculatory segments. These findings suggest an inherent phenotypic distinction between endothelial populations based on their developmental origin. Similarly, diverse environmental cues influence endothelial cell phenotype, critical to not only normal function but also the function of a diseased vessel. Consequently, an improved understanding of site-specific endothelial cell function is essential, particularly with consideration to environmental stimuli present both in the healthy vessel and in development of vasculopathic disease states. The need to examine endothelial cell phenotypes in the context of vascular function served as the basis for a recent workshop sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). This report is a synopsis of pertinent topics that were discussed, and future goals and research opportunities identified by the participants of the workshop are presented.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology