Notch, lipids, and endothelial cells

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Notch signaling is an evolutionary conserved pathway critical for cardiovascular development and angiogenesis. More recently, the contribution of Notch signaling to the homeostasis of the adult vasculature has emerged as an important novel paradigm, but much remains to be understood.

Recent findings

Recent findings shed light on the impact of Notch in vascular and immune responses to microenvironmental signals as well as on the onset of atherosclerosis. In the past year, studies in human and mice explored the role of Notch in the maintenance of a nonactivated endothelium. Novel pieces of evidence suggest that this pathway is sensitive to environmental factors, including inflammatory mediators and diet-derived by-products.

Summary

An emerging theme is the ability of Notch to respond to changes in the microenvironment, including glucose and lipid metabolites. In turn, alterations in Notch enable an important link between metabolism and transcriptional changes, thus this receptor appears to function as a metabolic sensor with direct implications to gene expression.

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