Endothelial cells (ECs) constitute the innermost layer that lines all blood vessels from the larger arteries and veins to the smallest capillaries, including the lymphatic vessels. Despite the histological classification of endothelium of a simple epithelium and its homogeneous morphological appearance throughout the vascular system, ECs, instead, are extremely heterogeneous both structurally and functionally. The different arrangement of cell junctions between ECs and the local organization of the basal membrane generate different type of endothelium with different permeability features and functions. Continuous, fenestrated and discontinuous endothelia are distributed based on the specific function carried out by the organs. It is thought that a large number ECs functions and their responses to extracellular cues depend on changes in intracellular concentrations of calcium ion ([Ca2+]i). The extremely complex calcium machinery includes plasma membrane bound channels as well as intracellular receptors distributed in distinct cytosolic compartments that act jointly to maintain a physiological [Ca2+]i, which is crucial for triggering many cellular mechanisms. Here, we first survey the overall notions related to intracellular Ca2+ mobilization and later highlight the involvement of this second messenger in crucial ECs functions with the aim at stimulating further investigation that link Ca2+ mobilization to ECs in health and disease.
- Endothelial cells