Endothelial cells are stimulated via a signaling pathway mediated by Notch, according to PLoS ONE article.

Researchers at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia have revealed a new system that regulates the process of blood vessel formation and wound healing—including chronic wounds such as those found in diabetic patients and those suffering from morbid obesity.

The team showed that endothelial cells responsible for constructing new blood vessels are spurred into action by an intracellular signaling pathway. The pathway is in turn mediated by the protein Notch.

The formation of new blood vessels allows anti-inflammatory proteins to reach the wound site, improves oxygenation of the damaged tissue and carries essential nutrients for the re-structuring of the skin.

The team knew that the endothelial cells are stimulated by cells originating in bone-marrow derived precursor cells. However, investigators have now shown that the actual stimulus happens through the Notch protein. Upon activation, Notch promotes the adhesion of the precursor cells to the site of the lesion, where they then stimulate the endothelial cells to make new blood vessels.

The article appears in PLoS ONE.

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