Magic Eye view of glycocalyx

Seeing is believing, even if what you want to see is actually unseeable.  My last post has reminded me of Kenton Arkill’s wonderful 3-D reconstruction of a rat peritubular capillary’s glycocalyx. Take a stereoscopic look;

Sad to say, I can’t see it; my eyes adapt near rather than far, so I only see pissholes in the snow. If you can see Magic Eye, tell me what you think.

Also love his 2-D Figure Three which is a rabbit choroid capillary; choroid capillaries obviously need to shift plenty of fluid and are fenestrated accordingly. You can see very clearly the adjacent junctioned endothelial cells and a fenestration, all coated with glycocalyx.

Kenton is also contributing to Farag & Kurz’ textbook, can’t wait to see new images;



  1. The enzymes and proteins listed above serve to reinforce the glycocalyx barrier against vascular and other diseases. Another main function of the glycocalyx within the vascular endothelium is that it shields the vascular walls from direct exposure to blood flow, while serving as a vascular permeability barrier. Research has shown that the glycocalyx, which is located on the apical surface of endothelial cells, is composed of a negatively charged network of proteoglycans , glycoproteins, and glycolipids.

    1. Exactly so. And by linking to the endothelial cytoskeleton the glycocalyx is also a mechanotranducer allowing the endothelial cell to respond to intravascular shear force. Amazing.

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