In mammalian species, vimentin is the sole intermediate filament protein of endothelial cells lining the chambers of the heart and the inner surface of large blood vessels. Obvious quantitative differences in the vimentin-like immunoreactivity of endothelial cells observed in different vascular segments led us to undertake a systematic survey on the endothelial content of vimentin throughout the heart chambers, the vena cava, the pulmonary trunk, and the aorta of the pig. Immunostaining and immunoblotting showed that vimentin in endothelial cells of cardiovascular segments exposed to high shear stress and blood pressure (pulmonary trunk, aorta, left ventricle) is approximately 2- to -3-fold higher than in endothelial cells exposed to lower levels of hemodynamic stress (vena cava, left and right atria, right ventricle). Throughout the aorta, an approximately 1.5-fold increase in the vimentin contents was observed in a proximal to distal direction. The total endothelial amount of vimentin was determined to be 1.2% (inferior vena cava) and 2-3.5% (aorta) of total cellular protein. These data support the notion that the endothelial vimentin cytoskeleton can adapt to different hemodynamic loads, indicating that vimentin might help endothelial cells to withstand the mechanical forces exerted by blood flow and blood pressure.