Copyright 2006 by Faculty of Medicine, University of Nis
THE ROLE OF ENDOTHELIUM IN INFLAMMATION
The endothelium is a complex organ system that controls the homeostasis of the vasculature by integrating signals between the vascular wall and the vessel lumen. Under physiological conditions, it maintains a normal vascular tone and blood fluidity by elaborating a variety of factors, such as nitric oxide, prostacyclin and endothelin. However, in pathological situations, the endothelium can also modify its phenotype facilitating vasoconstriction, inflammation and thrombotic events. These abnormal responses manifest in different clinical settings, such as hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and occur in the absence of any morphological change of the vessel. The etiology of these altered endothelial functions is multifactorial, and the mechanisms underlying them are complex and not yet fully elucidated. Acta Medica Medianae 2006;45(4):32-36.
Key words: endothelium, inflammation, endothelial dysfunction