Differential elastic responses to barrier-altering agonists in two types of human lung endothelium

P. Viswanathan, Y. Ephstein, J. G.N. Garcia, M. Cho, S. M. Dudek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Vascular integrity is primarily determined by endothelial cell (EC) cytoskeletal structure that is differentially regulated by various stimuli. In this study, atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to characterize structural and mechanical properties in the cytoskeleton of cultured human pulmonary artery EC (HPAEC) and human lung microvascular EC (HLMVEC) by determining elastic properties (Young's modulus) in response to endogenous barrier protective agents sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), or the barrier disruptive molecule thrombin. Initial studies in unstimulated cells indicate higher baseline peripheral elastic modulus values in HPAEC (mean 2.9 KPa) than in HLMVEC (1.8 KPa). After 30 min of stimulation, S1P induced the highest Young's modulus increase (6.1 KPa) compared to the other barrier enhancing stimuli, HGF (5.8 KPa) and the pharmaceutical agent and S1P analog FTY720 (4.1 KPa). In contrast, the barrier disruptive agent thrombin decreased values from 2.5 KPa to 0.7 KPa depending on the cell type and treatment time. AFM topographical imaging supports these quantitative biophysical data regarding differential peripheral elastic properties in EC. Overall, these AFM studies provide novel insights into the biomechanical properties of human lung EC that regulate vascular barrier function and have potential applicability to pathophysiologic vascular leak syndromes such as acute lung injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-605
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 16 2016


  • AFM
  • Barrier regulation
  • Endothelial cell
  • FTY720
  • S1P

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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