Endothelial to mesenchymal transition: at the axis of cardiovascular health and disease

Ignacio Fernando Hall, Franceska Kishta, Yang Xu, Andrew H. Baker, Jason C. Kovacic

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Endothelial cells (ECs) line the luminal surface of blood vessels and play a major role in vascular (patho)-physiology by acting as a barrier, sensing circulating factors and intrinsic/extrinsic signals. ECs have the capacity to undergo endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EndMT), a complex differentiation process with key roles both during embryonic development and in adulthood. EndMT can contribute to EC activation and dysfunctional alterations associated with maladaptive tissue responses in human disease. During EndMT, ECs progressively undergo changes leading to expression of mesenchymal markers while repressing EC lineage-specific traits. This phenotypic and functional switch is considered to largely exist in a continuum, being characterized by a gradation of transitioning stages. In this report, we discuss process plasticity and potential reversibility and the hypothesis that different EndMT-derived cell populations may play a different role in disease progression or resolution. In addition, we review advancements in the EndMT field, current technical challenges, as well as therapeutic options and opportunities in the context of cardiovascular biology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-236
Number of pages14
JournalCardiovascular Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2024


  • Cellular plasticity and heterogeneity
  • Development
  • Endothelial cell biology
  • Endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EndMT)
  • Human disease
  • Therapeutic options


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