The mammalian vascular system consists of two distinct, but closely related, networks: the blood vasculature (itself divided into arterial and venous networks) and the lymphatic vasculature. EC (endothelial cell) lineage specification has been proposed to be determined during embryonic development, after which the ECs are committed to their fate. However, increasing evidence suggests that ECs retain various degrees of plasticity, and have the ability to express characteristics of alternative cell lineages. Therapeutic control of endothelial plasticity will allow greater understanding of the genesis and treatment of several vascular diseases.

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