The endothelial glycocalyx (eGC) plays a pivotal role in the physiology of the vasculature. By binding plasma proteins, the eGC forms the endothelial surface layer (ESL) which acts as an interface between bloodstream and endothelial cell surface. The functions of the eGC include mechanosensing of blood flow induced shear stress and thus flow dependent vasodilation. There are indications that levels of plasma sodium concentrations in the upper range of normal and beyond impair flow dependent regulation of blood pressure and may therefore increase the risk for hypertension. Substances, therefore, that prevent sodium induced endothelial dysfunction may be attractive for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. By means of combined atomic force - epifluorescence microscopy we studied the impact of the hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) extract WS 1442, a herbal therapeutic with unknown mechanism of action, on the mechanics of the ESL of ex vivo murine aortae. Furthermore, we measured the impact of WS 1442 on the sodium permeability of endothelial EA.hy 926 cell monolayer. The data show that (i) the ESL contributes by about 11% to the total endothelial barrier resistance for sodium and (ii) WS 1442 strengthens the ESL resistance for sodium up to about 45%. This mechanism may explain some of the vasoprotective actions of this herbal therapeutic.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)