Integrins and regulation of the microcirculation: from arterioles to molecular studies using atomic force microscopy. Academic Article uri icon


  • Integrins are an important class of receptors for extracellular matrix proteins that can mediate both force transmission, by virtue of their connections with the cell matrix and cytoskeleton; and signal transduction, resulting from the assemblages of signaling proteins that associate with focal contacts. Consequently, integrins have been proposed to be the mechanosensor in vascular smooth muscle and endothelial cells and to play a central role in mechanotransduction. In this regard, mechanical force is an important stimulus for many vascular functions, including contractile and relaxation processes,proliferation, migration, attachment, and cell phenotype determination. Collectively, these functions define physiological properties of the vasculature such as control of blood flow, capillary pressure,permeability, and peripheral vascular resistance, and play a role in pathophysiological processes like hypertension, diabetes, and arteriosclerosis. Our knowledge concerning how integrins sense and transduce physical forces into cellular signals and which integrins are involved is incomplete. Compared to other cell surface receptors, integrins have a relatively low affinity for their binding sites on the extracellular matrix and their affinity can be regulated. These characteristics of integrin-ligand interaction may facilitate dynamic processes such as cell migration, cell remodeling, and contractile activation in response to external forces. Important questions remain concerning the nature and origin of integrin-mediated signaling in the vascular wall.

published proceedings

  • Microcirculation

author list (cited authors)

  • Martinez-Lemus, L. A., Sun, Z., Trache, A., Trzciakowski, J. P., & Meininger, G. A.

citation count

  • 46

complete list of authors

  • Martinez-Lemus, Luis A||Sun, Zhe||Trache, Andreea||Trzciakowski, Jerome P||Meininger, Gerald A

publication date

  • January 2005