Release of vasoactive substances from endothelial cells by shear stress and purinergic mechanosensory transduction

J Anat. 1999 Apr;194 ( Pt 3)(Pt 3):335-42. doi: 10.1046/j.1469-7580.1999.19430335.x.


The evidence for release of vasoactive substances from endothelial cells in response to shear stress caused by the viscous drag of passing fluids is reviewed and, in particular, its physiological significance both in short-term regulation of blood vessel tone and in long-term regulation of cell growth, differentiation, proliferation, and cell death in pathophysiological conditions is discussed. A new concept of purinergic mechanosensory transduction, particularly in relation to nociception, is introduced. It is proposed that distension of tubes (including ureter, vagina, salivary and bile ducts, gut) and sacs (including urinary and gall bladders, and lung) leads to release of ATP from the lining epithelium, which then acts on P2X2/3 receptors on subepithelial sensory nerves to convey information to the CNS.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Endothelins / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Substance P / metabolism
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents / metabolism*
  • Vasodilator Agents / metabolism*
  • Viscosity


  • Endothelins
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Substance P
  • Adenosine Triphosphate