New role for Notch in regulating vascular barrier

The vascular endothelial barrier is a layer of cells separating blood from tissues, regulating the exchange of nutrients and immune cells. Using a model of microvessels as well as mouse models, researchers revealed how a protein called the Notch1 transmembrane receptor regulates the function of the vascular barrier. The findings could have important clinical implications, given that dysfunction in this barrier is a hallmark and often the underlying cause of many cardiovascular diseases. The study, published in Nature, was partly funded by NHLBI.