Endothelial Cell Heterogeneity

Its Role as a Determinant of Selective Metastasis
  • Robert Auerbach


The organ-selective pattern by which tumor cells establish metastatic foci has long been recognized, but it is only within the last decade that serious attention has been given to the possible role played by vascular endothelial cells in this selective process.1–5 In large part this has been due to the fact that the heterogeneity of endothelial cells, especially of microvascular endothelial cells, was not appreciated.6 This lack of recognition was the result of several factors: (1) the inability to grow microvascular endothelial cells in vitro; (2) the central importance of large vessel endothelial cells in well-studied disease states such as atherosclerosis; and (3) the absence of a theoretical framework to justify the concept that microvascular endothelial cells from different organs are not basically similar to each other. But over the last 10 years or so we have learned how to isolate and grow endothelial cells in vitro, we have gained at least some rudimentary understanding of the basic developmental processes underlying microvascular endothelial cell differentiation, and we have begun to recognize the importance of the microvascular endothelium in disease processes ranging from microangiopathies to tumor cell metastasis.7–9


Endothelial Cell Microvascular Endothelial Cell Endothelial Cell Precursor Iymph Node Organ Rudiment 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Auerbach
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Developmental BiologyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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