Modulation of venular microvessel permeability by calcium influx into endothelial cells

F. E. Curry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


It has been proposed that calcium ion influx into endothelial cells modulates the permeability of venular microvessels via a calcium-dependent contractile process. The results of recent investigations using permeabilized endothelial cell monolayers conform to this hypothesis by demonstrating a calcium-dependent interaction of endothelial actin and myosin during the retraction of adjacent endothelial cells exposed to inflammatory agents. Little is known about the pathway for calcium influx into endothelial cells after exposure to mediators of inflammation, but evidence suggests that the properties of the calcium entry pathways are similar to the calcium entry pathways that regulate the release of endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF). Substances that stimulate EDRF release from arterial endothelium also increase venular microvessel permeability. Recently developed methods to measure cytoplasmic calcium concentration in the endothelial cells forming the walls of individually perfused microvessels enable a direct investigation of the modulation of the permeability of venular microvessels by calcium influx. These experiments demonstrate that the magnitude of the initial increase in the permeability of microvessels after exposure to an agent that increases permeability, such as a calcium ionophore, is determined by the magnitude of calcium ion influx into the endothelial cells. Furthermore, the magnitude of the calcium influx into endothelial cells is modulated by the membrane potential of the endothelial cells. Depolarization of the endothelial cell membrane reduces calcium influx and attenuates increases in permeability whereas hyperpolarization of the endothelial membrane increases calcium influx and potentiates increases in permeability. These data conform to the hypothesis that a passive conductance channel for calcium is a major pathway for calcium ion flux responsible to eliciting an increase in the permeability of the endothelial barrier in microvessels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2456-2466
Number of pages11
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1992


  • Calcium channels
  • Capillary permeability
  • EDRF
  • Endothelial cytoplasmic calcium
  • Endothelial monolayers
  • Endothelial potassium channels
  • Hydraulic conductivity
  • Individually perfused capillaries
  • Inflammatory mediators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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