Vascular endothelial cells form the interior linings of blood vessels. They act as a barrier and also regulate exchanges between the bloodstream and surrounding tissues. Impaired integrity of this cell layer can cause vascular ‘leakage’ and inflammation. This leakage is thought to play a major role in diseases that include heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
In this image, endothelial cell junctions (intercellular connections) can be seen in green. The junctions promote cell-to-cell adhesion. They’re formed in part by the vascular endothelial cadherin (VEC) adhesion molecule.
At the Centenary Institute, we are testing small molecule compounds that increase the stability of these junctions, i.e. looking to improve the tight sealing of these cobblestone-like cells.
Learn more about our research into inflammation.