Evolutionary considerations and the endothelium

Published on October 1, 2007 Reviewed on August 31, 2016   32 min

Other Talks in the Category: Reproduction & Development

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Hello my name is Bill Aird from Harvard Medical School and I'm going to be talking about Evolutionary Considerations and the Endothelium. The endothelium, which forms the inner cell lining of lymphatic and blood vessels,
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is a spatially distributed organ system extending to all recesses of the human body. In an average-sized human being, the endothelium weighs one kilogram, covers a total surface area of between 4,000 and 7,000 square meters, and spans over 100,000 miles of blood vessels, the vast majority of which are invisible to the human eye.
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The endothelium is not an inert layer of nucleated cellophane as it was originally portrayed, but rather is a highly metabolically active organ that participates in many physiological functions including the control of barrier function, leukocyte trafficking, the maintenance of blood fluidity in vasomotor tone, innate and acquired immunity, as well as proliferation and angiogenesis.
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A third point to make is that the endothelium is involved in every human disease either as a primary determinant of pathophysiology or as a victim of collateral damage. As a final introductory comment, endothelial cell phenotypes are differentially regulated in both structure and function across space and time giving rise to the phenomenon that we term in the vascular biology community, endothelial cell heterogeneity.
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Evolutionary considerations and the endothelium

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