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Medicina Legal de Costa Rica

On-line version ISSN 2215-5287Print version ISSN 1409-0015


CARVAJAL CARVAJAL, Carlos. El endotelio: estructura, función y disfunción endotelial. Med. leg. Costa Rica [online]. 2017, vol.34, n.2, pp.90-100. ISSN 2215-5287.

The endothelium could be defined as a cellular monolayer separating all tissues from the bloodflow. Endothelial cells have a myriad of functions that are specific to their location. The main function of endothelium is to regulate systemic blood flow and tissue perfusión through changes in vessel diameter and tone vascular. Endothelial dysfunction (ED) comprises a loss of balance between endothelial-derived vasodilatory and vasoconstrictory factors, where the pro-vasoconstrictory state become dominant, leading to progressive pathophysiological changes. Collectively, these endothelial changes exhibit proinflammatory, pro-oxidant, proliferative, procoagulation and pro-vascular adhesion features. The process of atherosclerosis begins early in life, and endothelial dysfunction contributes to atherogenesis at every phase of atherosclerosis. Endothelial dysfunction is a marker of atherosclerosis and it is the most clearly defined early precursor of atherosclerosis. Oxidative stress to be the common underlying cellular mechanisms for the development of ED. Inflammation is another common underlying mechanism of ED. There is a causal relationship between oxidative stress and inflammation. Oxidative stress may amplify vascular inflammation signalling pathways, and conversely inflammation increases oxidative stress. Endothelial function can be assessed by assaying its capacity to perform its various functions, including regulation of vasomotor tone, expression of adhesion molecules and maintenance of an anti-thrombotic microenvironment. In clinical Research, endothelial function is tipically assessed by measuring changes in vasomotor tone in response to various stimuli. A number of biomarkers have been identified and used as indicators of endothelial function.

Keywords : Endothelium; endothelial dysfunction; atherosclerosis.

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