The microtubule system in endothelial barrier dysfunction: Disassembly of peripheral microtubules and microtubules reorganization in internal cytoplasm

K. M. Smurova, A. A. Birukova, Alexander Dmitriyevich Verin, I. B. Alieva

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Endothelial cell barrier dysfunction is often associated with dramatic cytoskeletal reorganization, activation of actomyosin contraction and finally gap formation. At present time the role of microtubules in endothelial cell barrier regulation is not fully understood, however a number of observations allow to assume that microtubules reaction is the extremely important part in development of endothelial dysfunction. These observations have been forced us to examine the role of microtubule system reorganization in endothelial cell barrier regulation. In quiescent endothelial cells microtubule density is the highest in the centrosome region and insignificant near the cell margin. The analysis of microtubules distribution after specific antibodies staining using the method of measurement of their fluorescence intensity has shown that in control endothelial cells the reduction of fluorescence intensity from the cell center to its periphery is described by the equation of an exponential regression. The hormone agent, thrombin (25 nM), causes rapid increase of endothelial cell barrier permeability accompanied by fast decrease in quantity of peripheral microtubules and reorganization of microtubule system in internal cytoplasm of endothelial cells (the decrease of fluorescence intensity is described by the equation of linear regress already through 10 min after the beginning of the treatment). Both effects are reversible - through 60 min after the beginning of the treatment the microtubule network does not differ from normal one, so the microtubule system is capable to adapt for influence of a natural regulator thrombin. The microtubules reaction develops more quickly, than reorganization of the actin filaments system, which responsible for the subsequent changes in the cell shape during barrier dysfunction. Apparently, the microtubules are the first part in a circuit of the reactions leading to the pulmonary endothelial cell barrier compromise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-55
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 28 2008



  • Actin filaments
  • Endothelial barrier dysfunction
  • Endothelial barrier function
  • Microtubules
  • Pulmonary endothelium
  • Thrombin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology

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