Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Vascular endothelium lines the entire cardiovascular system where performs a series of vital functions including the control of microvascular permeability, coagulation inflammation, vascular tone as well as the formation of new vessels via vasculogenesis and angiogenesis in normal and disease states. Normal endothelium consists of heterogeneous populations of cells differentiated according to the vascular bed and segment of the vascular tree where they occur. One of the cardinal features is the expression of specific subcellular structures such as plasmalemmal vesicles or caveolae, transendothelial channels, vesiculo-vacuolar organelles, endothelial pockets and fenestrae, whose presence define several endothelial morphological types. A less explored observation is the differential expression of such structures in diverse settings of angiogenesis. This review will focus on the latest developments on the components, structure and function of these specific endothelial structures in normal endothelium as well as in diverse settings of angiogenesis.
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