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196 - Conclusion

from PART V - CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 May 2010

Jane Maienschein
Affiliation:
Center for Biology and Society, Arizona State University, Tempe
Manfred D. Laubichler
Affiliation:
Center for Biology and Society, Arizona State University, Tempe
William C. Aird
Affiliation:
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
William C. Aird
Affiliation:
Harvard University, Massachusetts
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Summary

Here, by Chapter 196 of a volume exploring the endothelium in medicine, it has become clear that this is an astonishingly diverse and far-reaching subject. Identified for the first time only at the end of the nineteenth century, the once seemingly simple and passive cell layer is now understood to represent a dynamic system that reflects and determines much about health and function for humans and other vertebrate species. This collection of chapters shows how far we have come in our understanding, and also how rich the opportunities are for further study and more effective translation of our understanding into clinical practice.

There is great virtue in bringing together all these topics that would normally reside in the archives of separate disciplines. We have gained many different perspectives of what the endothelium is and how endothelial cells (ECs) come together as a functioning system. By reflecting on the way the endothelium develops and by comparing phenotypes across different species, we gain insights into the alternatives available and what any particular developmental pathway means for the organism. This helps us understand the endothelium as a highly evolved, integrated system. The system is by no means perfect. Rather it is an interlocking “bundle of adaptations,” some of which were born of trade-offs that are no longer applicable. Indeed, the extreme path-dependence of evolutionary change has undoubtedly engendered design flaws that render the modern-day human endothelium highly vulnerable to disease.

The use of metaphors to conceptualize the endothelium is a powerful tool for understanding an otherwise hidden and under-appreciated entity. We hope that the reader will agree that the analogies between endothelium and weather, landscape, and urban design are at the same time provocative and illuminating.

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Endothelial Biomedicine , pp. 1815 - 1816
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2007

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  • Conclusion
    • By Jane Maienschein, Center for Biology and Society, Arizona State University, Tempe, Manfred D. Laubichler, Center for Biology and Society, Arizona State University, Tempe, William C. Aird, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Edited by William C. Aird, Harvard University, Massachusetts
  • Book: Endothelial Biomedicine
  • Online publication: 04 May 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511546198.197
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  • Conclusion
    • By Jane Maienschein, Center for Biology and Society, Arizona State University, Tempe, Manfred D. Laubichler, Center for Biology and Society, Arizona State University, Tempe, William C. Aird, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Edited by William C. Aird, Harvard University, Massachusetts
  • Book: Endothelial Biomedicine
  • Online publication: 04 May 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511546198.197
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Conclusion
    • By Jane Maienschein, Center for Biology and Society, Arizona State University, Tempe, Manfred D. Laubichler, Center for Biology and Society, Arizona State University, Tempe, William C. Aird, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Edited by William C. Aird, Harvard University, Massachusetts
  • Book: Endothelial Biomedicine
  • Online publication: 04 May 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511546198.197
Available formats
×