Vascular Endothelium: Functioning in Norm, Changes in Atherosclerosis and Current Dietary Approaches to improve Endothelial Function.
Sommaire de l'article
The endothelium represents not only a simple cellular monolayer that lines the vascular tree in humans and other vertebrates. Depending on the location, the endothelium shows significant morphological and functional heterogeneity through differentiated expression of pro- and anticoagulant factors, presence and frequency of intercellular contacts, variable contractility, cell shape, and volume. Altogether, these properties are crucial for adjustment of the endothelial function and further maintenance of the adequate homeostasis in response in local microenvironmental changes. Endothelial cells (ECs) play a critical role in coordinated regulation of blood flow. This is achieved due to the capacity of ECs to create the active anti-thrombotic surface that supports blood fluidity and transfer of blood cells and biomolecules. However, in certain vascular regions that can occur in inflamed sites or in sites with high hydrodynamic shear stress, ECs could lost their anti-thrombotic properties and switch their normal quiescent phenotype towards the prothrombotic, proadhesion, and proinflammatory state. In such an athero-prone site, the proper endothelial function is impaired that increases risk for formation of the atherosclerotic plaque. The endothelial dysfunction not only precedes atherosclerosis but greatly contributes to atherogenesis in all disease stages. Healthy lifestyle and regular intake of correct antioxidant-rich diet such as fresh fruits, vegetables, olive oil, red wine, and tea have beneficial effects on endothelial function and could therefore reduce the cardiovascular risk.