A two-phase response of endothelial cells to hydrostatic pressure

Valeria Prystopiuk, Benedikt Fels, Caroline Sophie Simon, Ivan Liashkovich, Dzmitry Pasrednik, Cornelius Kronlage, Roland Wedlich-Söldner, Hans Oberleithner, Johannes Fels*

*Corresponding author for this work
12 Citations (Scopus)


The vascular endothelium is exposed to three types of mechanical forces: blood flow-mediated shear stress, vessel diameter-dependent wall tension and hydrostatic pressure. Despite considerable variations of blood pressure during normal and pathological physiology, little is known about the acute molecular and cellular effects of hydrostatic pressure on endothelial cells. Here, we used a combination of quantitative fluorescence microscopy, atomic force microscopy and molecular perturbations to characterize the specific response of endothelial cells to application of pressure. We identified a two-phase response of endothelial cells with an initial response to acute (1 h) application of pressure (100 mmHg) followed by a different response to chronic (24 h) application. While both regimes induce cortical stiffening, the acute response is linked to Ca2+-mediated myosin activation, whereas the chronic cell response is dominated by increased cortical actin density and a loss in endothelial barrier function. GsMTx-4 and amiloride inhibit the acute pressure response, which suggests that the ENaC Na+ channel is a key player in endothelial pressure sensing. The described two-phase pressure response may participate in the differential effects of transient changes in blood pressure and hypertension.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberjcs206920
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 01.06.2018

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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