The endothelium is a major regulator of vascular tone, releasing vasoconstrictive (endothelin, cyclooxigenase-dependent factors, including prostanoids and oxygen free radicals) and vasodilating (endothelium--derived nitric oxid, endothelium--derived hyperpolarizing factor) mediators. These biologically active substances control not only the vascular tone but the vascular structure and permeability, coagulation and fibrinolysis, as well inflammatory response of the vascular wall. In endothelial dysfunction the balance in the endothelial production of vasodilating and vasoconstricting substances is altered resulting an apparent decrease in endothelium-dependent relaxations. Endothelial dysfunction is an important event in the pathogenesis of the early phase of atherosclerosis and hypertension. The testing and monitoring of endothelial dysfunction include tests of endothelium-dependent vasomotion, as well as circulating markers of endothelial damage. Further methods are needed to build up a panel of tests which measure the extent of endothelial dysfunction (= subclinical atherosclerosis), predict the subsequent risk and response to therapy.
|Number of pages||6|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 5 2001|
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