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Articles by U Welsch
Total Records ( 2 ) for U Welsch
  T Annecke , D Chappell , C Chen , M Jacob , U Welsch , C. P Sommerhoff , M Rehm , P. F Conzen and B. F. Becker

Healthy vascular endothelium is coated by the glycocalyx, important in multiple endothelial functions, but destroyed by ischaemia–reperfusion. The impact of volatile anaesthetics on this fragile structure has not been investigated. We evaluated the effect of cardiac pre- and post-conditioning with sevoflurane on integrity of the endothelial glycocalyx in conjunction with coronary vascular function.


Isolated guinea pig hearts perfused with Krebs–Henseleit buffer underwent 20 min stopped-flow ischaemia (37°C), either without or with 1 MAC sevoflurane. This was applied for 15 min before, for 20 min after, or both before and after ischaemia. Transudate was collected for assessing coronary net fluid extravasation and histamine release by mast cells. Coronary release of syndecan-1 and heparan sulphate was measured. In additional experiments with and without continuous sevoflurane, cathepsin B and tryptase β-like protease activity were measured in effluent. Hearts were perfusion-fixed to visualize the endothelial glycocalyx.


Ischaemia led to a significant (P<0.05) increase by 70% in transudate formation during reperfusion only in hearts without sevoflurane. This was accompanied by significant (P<0.05) increases in heparan sulphate (four-fold) and syndecan release (6.5-fold), with electron microscopy revealing massive degradation of glycocalyx. After ischaemia, histamine was released into transudate, and cathepsin B activity increased in effluent (P<0.05). Sevoflurane application attenuated all these changes, except for histamine release.


Sevoflurane protects the endothelial glycocalyx from ischaemia–reperfusion-induced degradation, with both preconditioning and rapid post-conditioning being successful. The mechanism seems to involve attenuation of lysosomal cathepsin B release and to be independent from tissue mast cell degranulation.

  D Chappell , M Jacob , O Paul , M Rehm , U Welsch , M Stoeckelhuber , P Conzen and B. F. Becker

Potter and Damiano recently assessed the hydrodynamic dimensions of the endothelial glycocalyx in vivo (mouse cremaster muscle venules) and in vitro (human umbilical vein and bovine aorta endothelium cultured in perfused microchannels) using fluorescent microparticle image velocimetry (Circ Res. 2008;102:770–776). Great discrepancy was observed, the glycocalyx presenting a zone of interaction extending 0.52 µm into the vessel lumen in vivo, but only 0.02 to 0.03 µm from cultured cells. In an accompanying editorial, Barakat cautioned that the difference in hydrodynamic interaction did not allow one to conclude that the cultured cells totally lack a physical cell surface layer capable of mechanotransduction (Circ Res. 2008;102:747–748). To stabilize the glycocalyx for electron microscopic investigation, we perfusion-fixed 6 human umbilical veins and confluent and nonconfluent cultures (5 each) of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) with lanthanum/glutaraldehyde solution. Ex vivo, the thickness of glycocalyx of umbilical vein endothelium averaged 878 nm. HUVECs in vitro presented a glycocalyx with a dense-zone thickness of only 29.4 nm, plus sparse filaments reaching out on average to 118 nm, there being no difference between the nonconfluent and confluent cells. Immunohistology demonstrated the presence of heparan sulfates and syndecan-1, main constituents of the glycocalyx, both ex vivo and in vitro. These results support the observed discrepancy between glycocalyx thickness in vivo and in vitro, now for one and the same type of human cell. The presence of heparan sulfates and syndecan-1 also on cultured cells may explain why mechanotransduction phenomena can be observed even with a nonmature glycocalyx.

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