Endothelium microenvironment sensing leading to nitric oxide mediated vasodilation: a review of nervous and biomechanical signals

Nitric Oxide. 2015 Feb 15:45:20-6. doi: 10.1016/j.niox.2015.01.006. Epub 2015 Jan 28.


Blood vessels are continuously exposed to various stresses such as mechanical strains and neurosignals. Besides its role as a barrier between blood and other tissues, the endothelium is a highly important cell layer for the regulation of vascular tone. Indeed, depending on the signal perceived by endothelial cells, it can drive a vasoconstrictor or vasodilator signal. This review presents mechano-receptors and neuro-receptors (restricted to neuropeptides) leading to vessel relaxation via the production of nitric oxide. Finally, some pieces of evidence of a potential cross-talk between these two kinds of stimuli are discussed.

Keywords: Endothelial nitric oxide synthase; Endothelium; Mechanosensing; Neurosensing; Vasodilation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mechanoreceptors
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological*
  • Nitric Oxide*
  • Sensory Receptor Cells
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Vasodilation*


  • Nitric Oxide