Evolutionary origins of the blood vascular system and endothelium
Article first published online: 30 JUN 2013
© 2013 International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis
Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis
Special Issue: State of the Art 2013
Volume 11, Issue Supplement s1, pages 46–66, June 2013
How to Cite
Evolutionary origins of the blood vascular system and endothelium. J Thromb Haemost 2013; 11 (Suppl. 1): 46–66., , .
- Issue published online: 30 JUN 2013
- Article first published online: 30 JUN 2013
- National Institutes of Health. Grant Number: HL076540
- biological evolution;
- blood vessels;
Every biological trait requires both a proximate and evolutionary explanation. The field of vascular biology is focused primarily on proximate mechanisms in health and disease. Comparatively little attention has been given to the evolutionary basis of the cardiovascular system. Here, we employ a comparative approach to review the phylogenetic history of the blood vascular system and endothelium. In addition to drawing on the published literature, we provide primary ultrastructural data related to the lobster, earthworm, amphioxus, and hagfish. Existing evidence suggests that the blood vascular system first appeared in an ancestor of the triploblasts over 600 million years ago, as a means to overcome the time-distance constraints of diffusion. The endothelium evolved in an ancestral vertebrate some 540–510 million years ago to optimize flow dynamics and barrier function, and/or to localize immune and coagulation functions. Finally, we emphasize that endothelial heterogeneity evolved as a core feature of the endothelium from the outset, reflecting its role in meeting the diverse needs of body tissues.