Molecular analysis of vascular gene expression

Res Pract Thromb Haemost. 2022 May 19;6(4):e12718. doi: 10.1002/rth2.12718. eCollection 2022 May.


A State of the Art lecture entitled "Molecular Analysis of Vascular Gene Expression" was presented at the ISTH Congress in 2021. Endothelial cells (ECs) form a critical interface between the blood and underlying tissue environment, serving as a reactive barrier to maintain tissue homeostasis. ECs play an important role in not only coagulation, but also in the response to inflammation by connecting these two processes in the host defense against pathogens. Furthermore, ECs tailor their behavior to the needs of the microenvironment in which they reside, resulting in a broad display of EC phenotypes. While this heterogeneity has been acknowledged for decades, the contributing molecular mechanisms have only recently started to emerge due to technological advances. These include high-throughput sequencing combined with methods to isolate ECs directly from their native tissue environment, as well as sequencing samples at a high cellular resolution. In addition, the newest technologies simultaneously quantitate and visualize a multitude of RNA transcripts directly in tissue sections, thus providing spatial information. Understanding how ECs function in (patho)physiological conditions is crucial to develop new therapeutics as many diseases can directly affect the endothelium. Of particular relevance for thrombotic disorders, EC dysfunction can lead to a procoagulant, proinflammatory phenotype with increased vascular permeability that can result in coagulopathy and tissue damage, as seen in a number of infectious diseases, including sepsis and coronavirus disease 2019. In light of the current pandemic, we will summarize relevant new data on the latter topic presented during the 2021 ISTH Congress.

Keywords: coagulation; endothelial cells; gene expression; high‐throughput sequencing; inflammation.