Research ArticleVASCULAR BIOLOGY

Spatially structured cell populations process multiple sensory signals in parallel in intact vascular endothelium

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Science Signaling  18 Dec 2018:
Vol. 11, Issue 561, eaar4411
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aar4411

Heterogeneity and cooperation in the endothelium

Endothelial cells lining blood vessels must sense, interpret, and respond to many different chemical signals. Coordination of the responses of these cells is critical for the proper function of the cardiovascular system. Lee et al. found that the coordinated behavior of endothelial cells in rat carotid artery resulted from communication between heterogeneous populations of cells with differential sensitivities to biochemical cues. Spatially distinct clusters of cells responded to either muscarinic or purinergic agonists; few cells were responsive to both. Each agonist evoked distinct intracellular signals, but communication between the different cell clusters generated new composite signals when both agonists were present. These results contribute to understanding how the endothelium can process large amounts of biochemical information for a coordinated, tissue-wide response.

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