About this Research Topic
The vascular system is a complex network in which two complementary compartments connected through the capillaries can be recognized: the arterial and venous circulations. In turn, both compartments can be divided into, at least, two functionally different vascular territories: the macrocirculation and microcirculation. Although macro and microvessels of arterial and venous circulations are designed to perform different functions, they must work coordinately along the whole vascular network. In addition, blood vessels possess a sophisticated architecture that provides a special organization by the precise arrangement of distinct cell types. Therefore, control of vascular function also depends on timely, fine intercellular communications in the vessel wall - mainly among endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells and perivascular nerves. Nevertheless, vessel wall cells must also work in coordination with cells that circulate in the blood stream such as red blood cells, platelets, and leucocytes. Thus, control of vascular function depends on fine communications between diverse cell types that are not always in direct contact with each other. One important mechanism of cell-to-cell communication is mediated by the release of autocrine/paracrine signals. Nitric oxide (NO), prostaglandins and ATP are widely recognized autocrine/paracrine signals that play diverse roles in the control of vascular function, such as regulation of vasomotor tone, smooth muscle proliferation, platelet aggregation, vascular permeability and leucocyte transmigration. One pathway for the release of autocrine/paracrine signals contributing to the regulation of vascular function is through connexin hemichannels (i.e. half of gap junction channel) and pannexin channels. It should be noted that, in addition of autocrine/paracrine signaling, direct cell-to-cell communication via connexin-formed gap junction channels makes an important contribution to the coordination of function between the different cell types of the vessel wall. As homeostasis of each cell of the organism relies on the proper function of the vascular system, it is essential to improve and advance our understanding of the mechanisms involved in the integrative regulation of cell communication in the vascular system.
This Research Topic is intended to combine original research, mini-reviews, commentaries and opinion papers related to the study and discussion of:
1) Mechanisms of autocrine/paracrine signaling involved in vascular function.
2) Signaling pathways of cell communication in the vessel wall.
3) Transduction mechanisms involved in the control of endothelial cell or smooth muscle cell function.
4) Control of vascular function by the interaction between physical and biochemical stimuli.
5) Alterations in cell communication associated to the progress of cardiovascular-related diseases.
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