Endothelial function and dysfunction: clinical significance and assessment

Shaghayegh Haghjooyejavanmard, Mehdi Nematbakhsh


  • Over the past two decades, investigators have increasingly recognized the importance of the endothelium as a centralregulator of vascular and body homeostasis. The endothelial lining represents an organ of 1.5 kg in an adult, which is distributed throughout the body. The endothelium is versatile and multifunctional. In addition to its role as a selective permeability barrier, it has many synthetic and metabolic properties, including modulation of vascular tone and blood flow, regulation of immune and inflammatory responses, and regulation of coagulation, fibrinolysis and thrombosis. Endothelial dysfunction (ED) is a frequently used term, which can be referred to abnormalities in various physiological functions of the endothelium, and it is known as a key variable in the pathogenesis of several diseases and their complications. Finding suitable markers for endothelial damage or ED is certainly of interest. Established and emerging techniques to detect ED are divided into three large families of functional, cellular, and biochemical markers. Instead of performing single assessments, it may be much more valuable to determine various biological aspects of endothelium. It seems that there is likely a spectrum between normality, endothelial activation (by inflammatory cytokines), endothelial dysfunction (e.g., impairment of nitric oxide, resulting in loss of regulation of vascular tone) and endothelial damage (e.g., atherosclerosis). In this review we review the importance of endothelium and its activation, biomarkers and dysfunction.
  •  KEYWORDS: Endothelial function, endothelium, Disease.


Endothelial function, endothelium, Disease.

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