Mechanobiology and Vascular Remodeling: From Membrane to Nucleus
Vascular endothelial cells (ECs) and smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) are constantly exposed to hemodynamic forces in vivo, including flow shear stress and cyclic stretch caused by the blood flow. Numerous researches revealed that during various cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, and vein graft, abnormal (pathological) mechanical forces play crucial roles in the dysfunction of ECs and VSMCs, which is the fundamental process during both vascular homeostasis and remodeling. Hemodynamic forces trigger several membrane molecules and structures, such as integrin, ion channel, primary cilia, etc., and induce the cascade reaction processes through complicated cellular signaling networks. Recent researches suggest that nuclear envelope proteins act as the functional homology of molecules on the membrane, are important mechanosensitive molecules which modulate chromatin location and gene transcription, and subsequently regulate cellular functions. However, the studies on the roles of nucleus in the mechanotransduction process are still at the beginning. Here, based on the recent researches, we focused on the nuclear envelope proteins and discussed the roles of pathological hemodynamic forces in vascular remodeling. It may provide new insight into understanding the molecular mechanism of vascular physiological homeostasis and pathophysiological remodeling and may help to develop hemodynamic-based strategies for the prevention and management of vascular diseases.
Work in our laboratory is supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 11625209, 11572199, and 11232010).
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