Pulling on my heartstrings: mechanotransduction in cardiac development and function.
McCormick ME., Tzima E.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Endothelial cells line the surface of the cardiovascular system and display a large degree of heterogeneity due to developmental origin and location. Despite this heterogeneity, all endothelial cells are exposed to wall shear stress (WSS) imparted by the frictional force of flowing blood, which plays an important role in determining the endothelial cell phenotype. Although the effects of WSS have been greatly studied in vascular endothelial cells, less is known about the role of WSS in regulating cardiac function and cardiac endothelial cells. RECENT FINDINGS: Recent advances in genetic and imaging technologies have enabled a more thorough investigation of cardiac hemodynamics. Using developmental models, shear stress sensing by endocardial endothelial cells has been shown to play an integral role in proper cardiac development including morphogenesis and formation of the conduction system. In the adult, less is known about hemodynamics and endocardial endothelial cells, but a clear role for WSS in the development of coronary and valvular disease is increasingly appreciated. SUMMARY: Future research will further elucidate a role for WSS in the developing and adult heart, and understanding this dynamic relationship may represent a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of cardiomyopathies.