Cardiac endothelial-myocardial signaling : its role in cardiac growth, contractile performance, and rhythmicity
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Pharmacy
Physiological reviews. - Bethesda, Md
, p. 59-115
University of Antwerp
Experimental work during the past 15 years has demonstrated that endothelial cells in the heart play an obligatory role in regulating and maintaining cardiac function, in particular, at the endocardium and in the myocardial capillaries where endothelial cells directly interact with adjacent cardiomyocytes. The emerging field of targeted gene manipulation has led to the contention that cardiac endothelial-cardiomyocytal interaction is a prerequisite for normal cardiac development and growth. Some of the molecular mechanisms and cellular signals governing this interaction, such as neuregulin, vascular endothelial growth factor, and angiopoietin, continue to maintain phenotype and survival of cardiomyocytes in the adult heart. Cardiac endothelial cells, like vascular endothelial cells, also express and release a variety of auto- and paracrine agents, such as nitric oxide, endothelin, prostaglandin I-2, and angiotensin II, which directly influence cardiac metabolism, growth, contractile performance, and rhythmicity of the adult heart. The synthesis, secretion, and, most importantly, the activities of these endothelium-derived substances in the heart are closely linked, interrelated, and interactive. It may therefore be simplistic to try and define their properties independently from one another. Moreover, in relation specifically to the endocardial endothelium, an active transendothelial physicochemical gradient for various ions, or blood-heart barrier, has been demonstrated. Linkage of this blood-heart barrier to the various other endothelium-mediated signaling pathways or to the putative vascular endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factors remains to be determined. At the early stages of cardiac failure, all major cardiovascular risk factors may cause cardiac endothelial activation as an adaptive response often followed by cardiac endothelial dysfunction. Because of the interdependency of all endothelial signaling pathways, activation or disturbance of any will necessarily affect the others leading to a disturbance of their normal balance, leading to further progression of cardiac failure.