HEALTH Unravels the Mechanism behind the Formation of Pores in Fenestrated Capillaries 2024.02.28

▲(from left) Professor Junyeop Lee and Researcher Soo Jin Kim 


‘Fenestrated capillaries’ are a type of blood capillary that have small pores or “windows" in the cell membrane, and these pores have a structure partially closed with a diaphragm. The pores in fenestrated capillaries facilitate the rapid exchange of substances, such as oxygen and nutrients, and efficiently remove body waste. The diaphragm acts as a gatekeeper to ensure that essential substances in the blood circulate normally without leaking. Although problems with “windows” can cause various diseases, how these openings are formed has been unknown so far. A team led by Professor Junyeop Lee and Researcher Soo Jin Kim of the Department of Ophthalmology recently became the first to establish the mechanism by which the pores in fenestrated capillaries are formed.


Plasmalemma Vesicle-Associated Protein (PLVAP) is a structural protein that forms pores and diaphragms in fenestrated capillaries and is known to play a crucial role in regulating vascular permeability during substance transfer. The research team conducted an analysis using single-molecule imaging and machine learning with a focus on PLVAP. As a result, they confirmed that the movement and binding forms of PLVAP molecules determine the formation and patterns of the “windows” and that this transition is reversible. The research team also validated these findings in animal models.


Professor Junyeop Lee stated, “By regulating PLVAP molecules, we may be able to identify causes of intractable diseases related to aging and propose new treatment approaches.”


The research findings were recently published in ‘Nano Letters,’ a prestigious journal in chemistry, and were selected as the cover story.