Heterogeneity of human nasal vascular and sinusoidal endothelial cells from the inferior turbinate

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2005 Jan;32(1):18-27. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2004-0253OC. Epub 2004 Oct 21.


The vast heterogeneity of endothelial cells (EC) in various organs necessitates isolation of EC from the relevant organs when defining mechanisms of site-specific pathologies. We report a novel finding that describes the presence of two heterogeneous populations of human nasal microvascular EC isolated from the inferior turbinate. Light and electron microscopy, flow cytometric analysis, and immunocytochemistry analysis demonstrated that one EC population exhibited the classic vascular endothelial markers with cobblestone-like morphology, whereas the other was sinusoidal with fusiform morphology. The sinusoidal EC (SEC) lacked surface expression of the endothelial markers CD31 and E-selectin, were discontinuous, showed fenestrae and pinocytic vesicles, and did not form tight junctions. Gene expression analysis using microarray revealed significant but limited heterogeneity between the two cell types. Immunohistochemical staining of normal nasal biopsies confirmed the presence of two distinct populations of EC. We found that CD31 was exclusively expressed on vascular EC (VEC), whereas the molecule L-SIGN was mainly expressed on SEC. Both cell types formed capillary-like tubules in matrigel in vitro. The two heterogeneous EC populations provide a unique in vitro system to study the biology of nasal VEC and SEC in normal conditions and in inflammatory processes in various nasal disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • E-Selectin / metabolism*
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology*
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Lectins, C-Type / metabolism*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Nasal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Nose / cytology
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism*
  • Tight Junctions / ultrastructure*
  • Turbinates / cytology
  • Turbinates / metabolism
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism


  • CLEC4M protein, human
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • E-Selectin
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1