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      The Endothelial Glycocalyx Prefers Albumin for Evoking Shear Stress-Induced, Nitric Oxide-Mediated Coronary Dilatation

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          Background: Shear stress induces coronary dilatation via production of nitric oxide (NO). This should involve the endothelial glycocalyx (EG). A greater effect was expected of albumin versus hydroxyethyl starch (HES) perfusion, because albumin seals coronary leaks more effectively than HES in an EG-dependent way. Methods: Isolated hearts (guinea pigs) were perfused at constant pressure with Krebs-Henseleit buffer augmented with 1/3 volume 5% human albumin or 6% HES (200/0.5 or 450/0.7). Coronary flow was also determined after EG digestion (heparinase) and with nitro- L-arginine (NO- L-Ag). Results: Coronary flow (9.50 ± 1.09, 5.10 ± 0.49, 4.87 ± 1.19 and 4.15 ± 0.09 ml/min/g for ‘albumin’, ‘HES 200’, ‘HES 450’ and ‘control’, respectively, n = 5–6) did not correlate with perfusate viscosity (0.83, 1.02, 1.24 and 0.77 cP, respectively). NO- L-Ag and heparinase diminished dilatation by albumin, but not additively. Alone NO- L-Ag suppressed coronary flow during infusion of HES 450. Electron microscopy revealed a coronary EG of 300 nm, reduced to 20 nm after heparinase. Cultured endothelial cells possessed an EG of 20 nm to begin with. Conclusions: Albumin induces greater endothelial shear stress than HES, despite lower viscosity, provided the EG contains negative groups. HES 450 causes some NO-mediated dilatation via even a rudimentary EG. Cultured endothelial cells express only a rudimentary glycocalyx, limiting their usefulness as a model system.

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          Most cited references 18

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          Biology of the syndecans: a family of transmembrane heparan sulfate proteoglycans.

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            Endothelial cell glycocalyx modulates immobilization of leukocytes at the endothelial surface.

            A thick endothelial glycocalyx provides the endothelial surface with a nonadherent shield. Oxidized LDL (Ox-LDL) degrades the endothelial glycocalyx. We hypothesized that glycocalyx degradation stimulates leukocyte-endothelial cell adhesion, whereas intravascular supplementation with sulfated polysaccharides reconstitutes the endothelial glycocalyx and attenuates Ox-LDL-induced leukocyte-endothelial cell adhesion. Degradation of the endothelial glycocalyx by local microinjection of heparitinase (10 to 50 U/mL) into mouse cremaster venules dose-dependently increased the number of adherent leukocytes. Systemic administration of Ox-LDL (0.4 mg/100 g body weight) induced 10.1+/-0.9 adherent leukocytes/100 microm at 60 minutes. In the venules perfused with 500-kDa dextran sulfate (1 mg/mL), the number of adherent leukocytes at 60 minutes after Ox-LDL bolus application was not influenced (9.2+/-1.0 leukocytes/100 microm). However, the venules locally perfused with heparan sulfate (10 mg/mL) or heparin (1 mg/mL) displayed a significantly lower number of adherent leukocytes induced by Ox-LDL: 5.1+/-0.7 and 5.4+/-0.9 leukocytes/100 microm, respectively (P<0.05). Fluorescently labeled heparan sulfate and heparin, but not dextran sulfate, attached to the venule luminal surface after Ox-LDL administration. Endothelial glycocalyx degradation stimulates leukocyte immobilization at the endothelial surface. Circulating heparan sulfate and heparin attach to the venule wall and attenuate Ox-LDL-induced leukocyte immobilization.
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              Heparan sulfate proteoglycan is a mechanosensor on endothelial cells.

              The objective of this study was to test whether a glycosaminoglycan component of the surface glycocalyx layer is a fluid shear stress sensor on endothelial cells (ECs). Because enhanced nitric oxide (NO) production in response to fluid shear stress is a characteristic and physiologically important response of ECs, we evaluated NOx (NO2- and NO3-) production in response to fluid shear stress after enzymatic removal of heparan sulfate, the dominant glycosaminoglycan of the EC glycocalyx, from cultured ECs. The significant NOx production induced by steady shear stress (20 dyne/cm2) was inhibited completely by pretreatment with 15 mU/mL heparinase III (E.C. for 2 hours. Oscillatory shear stress (10+/-15 dyne/cm2) induced an even greater NOx production than steady shear stress that was completely inhibited by pretreatment with heparinase III. Addition of bradykinin (BK) induced significant NOx production that was not inhibited by heparinase pretreatment, demonstrating that the cells were still able to produce abundant NO after heparinase treatment. Fluorescent imaging with a heparan sulfate antibody revealed that heparinase III treatments removed a substantial fraction of the heparan sulfate bound to the surfaces of ECs. In summary, these experiments demonstrate that a heparan sulfate component of the EC glycocalyx participates in mechanosensing that mediates NO production in response to shear stress. The full text of this article is available online at

                Author and article information

                J Vasc Res
                Journal of Vascular Research
                S. Karger AG
                October 2007
                02 July 2007
                : 44
                : 6
                : 435-443
                aClinic of Anesthesiology and Departments of bPhysiology and cAnatomy, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Munich, Germany
                104871 J Vasc Res 2007;44:435–443
                © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 2, References: 42, Pages: 9
                Research Paper


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