Molecular determinants of endothelial transcytosis and their role in endothelial permeability

Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2007 Oct;293(4):L823-42. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.00436.2006. Epub 2007 Jul 20.


Caveolae transcytosis with its diverse mechanisms-fluid phase, adsorptive, and receptor-mediated-plays an important role in the continuous exchange of molecules across the endothelium. We will discuss key features of endothelial transcytosis and caveolae that have been studied recently and have increased our understanding of caveolae function in transcytosis at the molecular level. During transcytosis, caveolae "pinch off" from the plasma membrane to form discrete vesicular carriers that shuttle to the opposite front of endothelial cells, fuse with the plasma membrane, and discharge their cargo into the perivascular space. Endothelial transcytosis exhibits distinct properties, the most important being rapid and efficient coupling of endocytosis to exocytosis on opposite plasma membrane. We address herein the membrane fusion-fission reactions that underlie transcytosis. Caveolae move across the endothelial cells with their cargo predominantly in the fluid phase through an active process that bypasses the lysosomes. Endothelial transcytosis is a constitutive process of vesicular transport. Recent studies show that transcytosis can be upregulated in response to pathological stimuli. Transcytosis via caveolae is an important route for the regulation of endothelial barrier function and may participate in different vascular diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Capillary Permeability / physiology*
  • Caveolae / metabolism
  • Caveolae / physiology
  • Endocytosis / physiology*
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Exocytosis / physiology*
  • Humans