Endothelial expression of thrombomodulin is reversibly regulated by fluid shear stress.
The vascular endothelium, by virtue of its position at the interface between blood and the vessel wall, is known to play a critical role in the control of thrombosis and fibrinolysis. Thrombomodulin (TM) is a surface receptor that binds thrombin and is a potent activator of the protein C anticoagulant pathway. Although TM expression is known to be regulated by various cytokines, little is known about its response to ever-present biomechanical stimuli. We have explored the role of fluid shear stress, imparted on the luminal surface of the endothelial cell as a result of blood flow, on the expression of TM mRNA and protein in both bovine aortic endothelial (BAE) and bovine smooth muscle (BSM) cells in an in vitro system. We report in the present study that TM expression is regulated by flow. Subjecting BAE cells to fluid shear stress in the physiological range of magnitude of 15 (moderate shear stress) and 36 (elevated shear stress) dynes/cm2 resulted in a mild transient increase followed by a significant decrease in TM mRNA to 37% and 16% of its resting level, respectively, by 9 hours after the onset of flow. In contrast, shear stress at the low magnitude of 4 dynes/cm2 did not affect TM mRNA levels. The sensitivity of TM mRNA expression by flow was found to be specific to endothelium, since it was not observed in BSM cells exposed to steady laminar shear stress of 15 dynes/cm2. Furthermore, unlike BAE cells, BSM cells did not exhibit altered cell shape nor align in the direction of flow after 24 hours of shear stress at 15 dynes/cm2.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association