Endothelial cell heterogeneity and organ specificity

J Hematother Stem Cell Res. 2002 Feb;11(1):81-90. doi: 10.1089/152581602753448559.


Endothelial cells consist of a heterogeneous population covering the entire inner surface of blood vessels. This review will focus on the factors influencing this heterogeneity including: (1) morphological and functional differences between large and small vessels and between cells derived from various microvascular endothelial beds; (2) the microenvironment and extracellular matrix modulating the phenotype; (3) different response to growth factors; (4) organ specificity reflecting the cumulative expression of post-translation modifications and also the expression of unique genes under the control of organ-specific regulatory elements; and (5) pathological conditions, such as tumor growth, which is accompanied by the development of a characteristic tumor vasculature and tumors formed by endothelial cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication / physiology
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Cytokines / pharmacology
  • Cytokines / physiology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology
  • Humans
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / etiology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / drug effects
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / physiology
  • Organ Specificity
  • Phenotype
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / analysis
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / physiology


  • Cytokines
  • Receptors, Cell Surface