• A Rossi
  • E Weber
  • G Sacchi
  • D Maestrini
  • F Di Cintio
  • R Gerli


Initial lymphatic vessel endothelial cells are connected to the surrounding elastic fibers by fibrillin anchoring filaments that have been hypothesized to favor interstitial fluid drainage in edema pulling apart interendothelial junctions. We hypothesized a biochemical mechanism involving mechanotransduction. This study was designed to verify whether a relation exists between focal adhesion molecules and anchoring filaments and whether they may transduce extracellular forces to the nucleus. We first performed animmunohistochemical study on human skin cryostat sections to evaluate whether fibrillin and αv-β3 integrins, FAK and fibrillin, or αv-β3 integrins and FAK co-localize in lymphatic endothelium. We observed that integrins and FAK co-localize and that fibrillin filament attachment sites to endothelial cells merge with these molecules. These data may suggest that fibrillin anchoring filaments are connected to endothelial cells through focal adhesions. Mechanotransduction was investigated applying static stretching to bovine thoracic duct segments and lymphatic endothelial cells cultured on elastic membranes and immunohistochemically evaluating the expression of ERK1/2. Under stretching conditions, ERK1/2 labels the nucleus.Western blotting on cultured cells confirmed the presence of ERK1/2 in stretched cells. Based on our data we speculate that anchoring filaments may trigger a focal adhesion-mediated cascade of mechanotransduction toward the nucleus for genetic modulation and thus contribute to endothelial adaptation to interstitial requirements.

Keywords: lymphatic endothelium, anchoring filaments, focal adhesions, mechanotransduction, ERK1/2

How to Cite:

Rossi, A., Weber, E., Sacchi, G., Maestrini, D., Di Cintio, F. & Gerli, R., (2007) “MECHANOTRANSDUCTION IN LYMPHATIC ENDOTHELIAL CELLS”, Lymphology 40(3), 102-113.

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Published on
22 Aug 2007
Peer Reviewed