Endothelial cells line blood vessels and regulate hemostasis, inflammation, and blood pressure. Proteins critical for these specialized functions tend to be predominantly expressed in endothelial cells across vascular beds. Here, we present a systems approach to identify a panel of human endothelial-enriched genes using global, body-wide transcriptomics data from 124 tissue samples from 32 organs. We identified known and unknown endothelial-enriched gene transcripts and used antibody-based profiling to confirm expression across vascular beds. The majority of identified transcripts could be detected in cultured endothelial cells from various vascular beds, and we observed maintenance of relative expression in early passage cells. In summary, we describe a widely applicable method to determine cell-type-specific transcriptome profiles in a whole-organism context, based on differential abundance across tissues. We identify potential vascular drug targets or endothelial biomarkers and highlight candidates for functional studies to increase understanding of the endothelium in health and disease.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.