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Möckl, Leonhard; Hirn, Stephanie; Torrano, Adriano A.; Uhl, Bernd; Bräuchle, Christoph; Krombach, Fritz (2017): The glycocalyx regulates the uptake of nanoparticles by human endothelial cells in vitro. In: Nanomedicine, Vol. 12, No. 3: pp. 207-217
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Aim: To assess the role of the endothelial glycocalyx (eGCX) for the uptake of nanoparticles by endothelial cells. Methods: The expression of the eGCX on cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells was determined by immunostaining of heparan sulfate. Enzymatic degradation of the eGCX was achieved by incubating the cells with eGCX-shedding enzymes. The uptake of 50-nm polystyrene nanospheres was quantified by confocal microscopy. Results: Human umbilical vein endothelial cells expressed a robust eGCX when cultured for 10 days. The uptake of both carboxylated and aminated polystyrene nanospheres was significantly increased in cells in which the glycocalyx was enzymatically degraded, while it remained at a low level in cells with an intact glycocalyx. Conclusion: The eGCX constitutes a barrier against the internalization of blood-borne nanoparticles by endothelial cells.