• TJ Ryan


Kaposi sarcoma is a common, though not inevitable consequence of AIDS. There is a body of opinion that believes that this sarcoma is derived from lymphatic endothelium, or at least from a failure of vascular endothelium to distinguish between whether it is attempting to be a blood vessel or a lymphatic. While immunodeficiency and its consequences have proved to be the most significant area of research, the general biology of endothelium, and especially angiogenesis, has perhaps been neglected. I predict that the most important new concept in the biology of endothelium is the recognition of mechanico-receptors as a determinant of its behavior. The concept is illustrated by articles from Oxford (Ryan 1989), from Boston, Massachusetts (Ingber & Folkman 1989), and from Moscow (Shirinsky et al 1989). Most authors studying endothelium have concentrated on blood vascular endothelium and ignored the rich lymphatic bed. Since the lymphatic is par excellence a mechanical receptor, this is perhaps surprising. The lymphatic functions by its responsiveness to mechanical forces, it is a fine control for hydrostatic pressure within the interstitium, and morphologically, its flat and attenuated endothelium linked to strong anchoring fibers is biologically exactly the kind of behavior required of a cell that is responsive to mechanical factors. Perhaps the best known mechanical receptor is the stretch receptor in the muscle fiber. The linkage of this receptor to the enzyme protein kinase C has been described. Ryan has also pointed out that protein kinase C may be an important mechanico-receptor in the fibroblast and possibly also universally in all cells, including lymphatic endothelium. (ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

How to Cite:

Ryan, T., (1990) “GRIP AND STICK AND THE LYMPHATICS”, Lymphology 23(2), 81-84.

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Published on
26 Nov 1990
Peer Reviewed