The role of endothelial glycocalyx components in mechanotransduction of fluid shear stress

Manolis Y. Pahakis, Jason R. Kosky, Randal O. Dull, John M. Tarbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

303 Scopus citations


The surface of endothelial cells is decorated with a wide variety of membrane-bound macromolecules that constitute the glycocalyx. These include glycoproteins bearing acidic oligosaccharides with terminal sialic acids (SA), and proteoglycans with their associated glycosaminoglycan that include: heparan sulfate (HS), chondroitin sulfate (CS), and hyaluronic acid (HA). In this study, enzymes were used to selectively degrade glycocalyx components from the surface of bovine aortic endothelial cells and the effects of these alterations on fluid shear-induced nitric oxide (NO) and prostacyclin (PGI2) production were determined. Depletion of HS, HA, and SA, but not CS, blocked shear-induced NO production. Surprisingly, the same enzyme depletions that blocked NO production had no influence on shear-induced PGI2 production. The results may be interpreted in terms of a glypican-caveolae-eNOS mechanism for shear-induced NO transduction, with PGI2 being transduced in basal adhesion plaques that sense the same reaction stress whether the glycocalyx is intact or not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-233
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 30 2007


  • Chondroitin sulfate
  • Endothelial cell
  • Glycocalyx
  • Heparan sulfate
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Nitric oxide
  • Prostacyclin
  • Shear stress
  • Sialic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of endothelial glycocalyx components in mechanotransduction of fluid shear stress'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this