Blood vessels are lined by cells known as endothelium. These cells play an essential role in regulating the movement of molecules and fluids in the body—a process called transcytosis. Transcytosis moves molecules, such as insulin, bad cholesterol and albumin, through the cells in the endothelial layer and out of blood vessels. But little research has been done on this process despite transcytosis’ enormous potential to respond to therapeutic manipulation.
Dr. Warren Lee, Canada Research Chair in Mechanisms of Endothelial Permeability, has already developed novel methods of studying endothelial transcytosis. Now, he and his research team are using these to better understand its molecular regulation and identify new treatments for diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes and tissue edema.