The glycocalyx as a permeability barrier: basic science and clinical evidence

Randal O. Dull, Robert G. Hahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Preclinical studies in animals and human clinical trials question whether the endothelial glycocalyx layer is a clinically important permeability barrier. Glycocalyx breakdown products in plasma mostly originate from 99.6–99.8% of the endothelial surface not involved in transendothelial passage of water and proteins. Fragment concentrations correlate poorly with in vivo imaging of glycocalyx thickness, and calculations of expected glycocalyx resistance are incompatible with measured hydraulic conductivity values. Increases in plasma breakdown products in rats did not correlate with vascular permeability. Clinically, three studies in humans show inverse correlations between glycocalyx degradation products and the capillary leakage of albumin and fluid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number273
JournalCritical Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Anesthesia
  • Capillaries
  • Fluid kinetics
  • Glycocalyx
  • Human studies
  • Permeability
  • Translational research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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