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Three types of capillaries, namely continuous, fenestrated, and sinusoidal, form the microvascular system; each type has a specialized structure and function to respond to the demands of the organs they supply. The endothelial glycocalyx, a gel-like layer of glycoproteins that covers the luminal surface of the capillary endothelium, is also thought to maintain organ and vascular homeostasis by exhibiting different morphologies based on the functions of the organs and capillaries in which it is found. Recent advances in analytical technology have enabled more detailed observations of the endothelial glycocalyx, revealing that it indeed differs in structure across various organs. Furthermore, differences in the lectin staining patterns suggest the presence of different endothelial glycocalyx components across various organs. Interestingly, injury to the endothelial glycocalyx due to various pathologic and physiological stimuli causes the release of these components into the blood. Thus, circulating glycocalyx components may be useful biomarkers of organ dysfunction and disease severity. Moreover, a recent study suggested that chronic injury to the glycocalyx reduces the production of these glycocalyx components and changes their structure, leading it to become more vulnerable to external stimuli. In this review, we have summarized the various endothelial glycocalyx structures and their functions. Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Akio Suzuki, Hiroyuki Tomita, Hideshi Okada. Form follows function: The endothelial glycocalyx. Translational research : the journal of laboratory and clinical medicine. 2022 Apr 11

PMID: 35421613

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