Mesothelium and endothelium cells appear in different locations. The endothelium lines tube-shaped vessels like blood vessels. Mesothelium, meanwhile, covers the organs’ outer surfaces. This is the main difference between the two cells, but there are many more. This is interesting since the two are often confused.

Differences Between Cells

The differences between the two cells, besides where they are located, can be summarized as follows:

  • They have different cytoplasm concentrations (little to none for endothelium, high levels for mesothelium)
  • Endothelium directly contacts lymph and blood, draining interstitial fluid and acting against infection.
  • Mesothelium protects vital organs in internal body cavities.

Similarities Between Cells

The main reason why these cells are sometimes confused is because they both line free surfaces. Furthermore, both have protective roles. Lastly, their thickness is a single cell layer, and they come from the embryo’s mesodermal layer.

How to Identify These Cells

Scientists have long been concerned about whether or not it is possible to differentiate between mesothelium and endothelium cells. Fortunately, the Von Willebrand Factor, which showed that there are a number of cell markers that are specific for endothelial cells, was discovered. Mesothelial cells, meanwhile, have monoclonal antibodies, and they don’t synthesize and secrete vWF.

Its Regenerative Properties

Scientists are very interested in the regenerative properties of mesothelium. They are currently looking at developing new tissue engineering technologies to help in the treatment of various conditions. If mesothelium is used, it is biocompatible, degradable, and non-immunogenic, which means it could be applied in a range of different therapies. Most importantly, it is hoped that it can help regenerate lung tissue, and other tissue that is affected by asbestos.

To date, researchers are looking in to the profiles of phenotypic makers that are found in the various forms of cells that behave in an epithelial way. They have found that the mesothelium has a number of specific benefits in terms of becoming a regenerative treatment. These include:

  • Its structure and functions
  • Its high level of plasticity
  • The fact that it has strong anti-inflammatory properties and that it is immunomodulatory

The difficulty that scientists are encountering, however, is finding the clinical sources of these cells. Because it is becoming an interesting form of treatment for mesothelioma and asbestosis, many of the cells have already been destroyed or damaged. However, there are a number of reliable sources that could potentially be used to harvest mesothelial cells. These include:

  • The greater omentum
  • The mesenteric membrane
  • Peritoneal fluid
  • Parietal tunica vaginalis

While further research has to continue, preliminary findings have shown that these biomaterials may be useful for simple squamous epithelial tissue engineering. That being said, the above tissues are often wholly insufficient in patients who have already been diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition. As a result, scientists are also exploring other biological laminar scaffolds that could help in simple epithelia tissue engineering in humans. So far, they are considering:

  • Decellularized animal tissues
  • Decellularized amniotic membrane
  • Extracellular matrix proteins and natural polymers such as collagen, fibronectin, laminins, gelatin, alginate, chitosan, and silk fibroin

One of the key elements that also has to be studied how biological scaffolds go through the mesothelialization process. As such, some of the specific areas that must be researched include:

  • Whether an artificial basement membrane can be used to pre-coat the biological scaffolds
  • How static cell seeding works
  • Whether tissue can be engineered through cell sheet based tissue

Therapeutic Applications

While research still needs to continue, there have already been some significant positive findings in the therapeutic applications of mesothelial serosal membranes. These include:

  • The prevention of peritoneal adhesions
  • Vascular grafts
  • Corneal endothelium

While not yet successful, there have also been some positive developments in potential therapeutic applications, including:

  • Synovial membrane
  • Mesothelium lining of the Reissner’s membrane

It is now known that the way coronary vessels develop is by the mesenchymal vascular progenitors, found within the subepicardium, self-assembling. It is also known that the fibroblasts and vascular smooth muscle cells’ mesenchymal precursors come from the transformation from epithelial to mesenchymal, which happens in the epicardial mesothelium. However, it is not yet understood where the coronary endothelium comes from.

Understanding The Cells

The endothelium refers to endothelial cells. They are specialized cells lining the blood vessels. There are four different types of cells that are found in the construction of all animal cells, the other three being connective, muscle, and nervous. The mesothelium and the endothelium both come from the mesoderm, and pathologists do not consider mesothelium or endothelium to be true epithelium. This further confuses the overall issue.

The reason why they are not classed as true epithelium is because the pathology of both endothelium and mesothelium is incredibly different. As a result, when someone is diagnosed with cancer, these cancers are labeled as mesothelium and endothelium sarcomas. A true epithelial cancer is known as a carcinoma. There are many differences between sarcomas and carcinomas, not in the least that the tissues derived from the mesoderm are very different.

Sarcoma vs Carcinoma

To truly understand mesothelium vs. endothelium cells, you must also learn to understand the difference between sarcoma and carcinoma. Over 90% of all cancers come from epithelial tissues. These include the lining of the prostate, lungs, breasts, or colon. These are known as ‘carcinomas’, and they are most common in elderly people. Lung cancer brought on by asbestos exposure is a prime example of this.

A sarcoma, meanwhile, is a tumor that comes from the ‘mesenchymal’ tissue. This includes fat, cartilage, connective tissue, bone, and muscle. Mesothelioma, for instance, is most often a sarcoma, rather than a carcinoma, which is one of the main differences between this disease and lung cancer. Anyone is susceptible to sarcomas, regardless of their age. It is the rarer form of cancer, accounting for less than 1% of all diagnosis. Usually, someone with a sarcoma will not be described as having ‘fat cancer’, ‘bone cancer’, or ‘cartilage cancer’, for instance, but rather as having ‘liposarcoma’, ‘osteosarcoma’, or ‘chondrosarcoma’, respectively.

Get Immediate Help Now

f you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos and now face a condition such as Mesothelioma or lung cancer, contact us immediately to speak with a specialist who will help guide you through your options, both legally from a compensation standpoint and medically should you have questions.