A microscopic view on the renal endothelial glycocalyx

Martijn J. C. Dane, Bernard M. van den Berg, Dae Hyun Lee, Margien G. S. Boels, Gesa L. Tiemeier, M. Cristina Avramut, Anton Jan van Zonneveld, Johan van der Vlag, Hans Vink, Ton J. Rabelink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Endothelial cells perform key homeostatic functions such as regulating blood flow, permeability, and aiding immune surveillance for pathogens. While endothelial activation serves normal physiological adaptation, maladaptation of these endothelial functions has been identified as an important effector mechanism in the progression of renal disease as well as the associated development of cardiovascular disease. The primary interface between blood and the endothelium is the glycocalyx. This carbohydrate-rich gel-like structure with its associated proteins mediates most of the regulatory functions of the endothelium. Because the endothelial glycocalyx is a highly dynamic and fragile structure ex vivo, and traditional tissue processing for staining and perfusion-fixation usually results in a partial or complete loss of the glycocalyx, studying its dimensions and function has proven to be challenging. In this review, we will outline the core functions of the glycocalyx and focus on different techniques to study structure-function relationships in kidney and vasculature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)F956-F966
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015


  • renal
  • endothelial glycocalyx
  • endothelial surface layer
  • imaging
  • glomerular endothelium

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