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Our group is in particular interested in studying signaling processes involved in vascular remodeling in the adult. The focus points towards regulation of induction and prevention of vessel growth and vessel remodeling in physiological and patho-physiological situations. In order to achieve our aims we have set up several model systems ranging from single cells to organ cultures in vitro focusing on mechanically induced signaling cascades of endothelial cells. In detail, we pay most interest on both, the trigger effects of shear stress, which describes the force transduced to the cellular surface by the blood flow, and the elasticity of the extracellular matrix.
A number of studies have shown that both physical forces may end up in an adaptive remodeling of the vascular bed like new vessel formation or vessel wall modifications. We hypothesize that extra-cellular matrix protease are the key player in those processes modulating the matrix stiffness.
Changes in matrix stiffness are then sensed and, at least partial, transduced into the cell via so-called focal adhesion sites. These are areas in the membrane comprise large numbers of clustered cellular binding sites. At these points, the cell-matrix-binding conjoins to the cytoskeleton and consequently to that, strong activities of focal adhesion dependent kinases are found at these locations.
In ongoing experiments, we are trying to understand how vascular cells are responding to changes of physical forces in their environment. In doing so, we try to develop different cell culture models, like flow systems mimicking shear stress or hydrogels mimicking changes in vessel wall rigidity.
Dr. Torsten Gloe
Phone: +49 (0)621/383-71516