Glycocalyx, protective compartment in blood vessels
The endothelial glycocalyx is a gel-like layer at the luminal side of endothelial cells lining the blood vessels throughout the body. Research studies from our team and other groups have shown that the endothelial glycocalyx plays an important role in protection of the vascular system against atherogenic challenges associated with cardiovascular disease. Also, the glycocalyx is involved in the physiological regulation of organ perfusion, which is important for an effective delivery of nutrients and hormones to their target cells.
Ongoing experimental and clinical research projects aim to evaluate whether perturbation of the endothelial glycocalyx is an important initial step towards the development of cardiovascular disease, and includes the development of diagnostic tools to detect glycocalyx degradation in humans at risk, as well as evaluation of targeted interventions to alleviate glycocalyx loss. In addition, our research aims at a better understanding of the physiological and molecular processes involved in control of vascular homeostasis and organ perfusion by the glycocalyx.
We hope this website will give you appreciation of the challenges we are facing in understanding the many roles of the endothelial glycocalyx in our vascular system, and that it will trigger your curiosity about the potential clinical and physiological implications of this fascinating compartment.
Jurgen Van Teeffelen