Vascular endothelial cells
Vascular endothelial cells are at the interface between blood cells and tissue. They play a pivotal role in signaling a metabolic vasodilation in response to increase oxygen demand by excising muscle cells; as well as regulating the movement of white blood cells from the blood stream into the tissue. Both of these processes involve the activation of calcium signaling pathways. This movie (10x real-time), obtained using video-rate confocal microscopy, shows that the activation of endothelial muscarnic receptors, with a pressure pulse of acetylcholine (10-4 M, 500 ms), invokes an intercellular calcium wave (fluo-4 fluorescence) that spreads to neighouring cells at a speed of ~50 µm/s. Accompanying the calcium wave is a dilation of the arteriole that leads to increased blood flow. Our research goals include elucidating roles of intercellular calcium communication in signaling a vasodilation and transendothelial migration of white blood cells.