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Panminerva Medica 2005 June;47(2):75-80

lingua: Inglese

Endothelium and inflammation

Piro M., Giubilato G., Pinnelli M., Giordano Sciacca P., Biasucci L. M.

Institute of Cardiology Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy


During the past decade, our understanding of the pathophysiology of coronary heart disease (CAD) has undergone a remarkable evolution. To date atherosclerosis is considered an inflammatory disease, whose the endothelial dysfunction represents an early key event. When the arterial endothelium encounters certain bacterial products or risk factors, such as dyslipidemia, vasoconstrictor hormones involved in hypertension, the products of glycoxidation associated with hyperglycemia, or proinflammatory cytokines derived from excess adipose tissue, these cells increase the expression of adhesion molecules that promote the sticking of blood leukocytes to the inner surface of the arterial wall. Once in the arterial intima these cells communicate with endothelium and smooth muscle cells, under the influence of mediators of inflammation and immunity, such as the cytokines and complements components, prostanoids and leukotrienes. Thus, the activated endothelium promotes the development of the atherosclerotic disease process, i.e., vascular inflammation and thrombosis by producing vasoconstrictor substances, by inducing the expression of adhesive receptors for leukocytes and platelets, the production of tissue factor and endothelin, and by increasing the production of the plasminogen activator inhibitor-1. Emerging data support the concept that assessment of endothelial vasomotion may be a useful biomarker for atherosclerotic vascular disease.

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