Depending on the pattern of blood flow to which they are exposed and their proliferative status, vascular endothelial cells can present a primary cilium into the flow compartment of a blood vessel. The cilium modifies the response of endothelial cells to biomechanical forces. Shear stress, which is the drag force exerted by blood flow, is best studied in this respect. Here we review the structural composition of the endothelial cilia and the current status of knowledge about the relation between the presence of primary cilia on endothelial cells and the shear stress to which they are exposed.

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Department of Cardiology

Egorova, A., van der Heiden, K., Poelmann, R., & Hierck, B. (2012). Primary cilia as biomechanical sensors in regulating endothelial function. Differentiation, 83(2). doi:10.1016/j.diff.2011.11.007