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Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2005 Nov;14(11):1319-36.

Endothelial function and its assessment.

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  • 1University Department of Medicine, City Hospital, Birmingham, UK.


Endothelial dysfunction is a characteristic aspect of most of the conditions associated with atherosclerosis and is commonly found as an early feature in atherothrombotic vascular disease. An appreciation of the underlying mechanisms of endothelial function, as well as dysfunction, is essential as this has critical influence on the different methods in the assessment of endothelial function and effects of various treatments on its quantification. Furthermore, endothelial dysfunction is recognised as a type of 'target organ damage' in common cardiovascular conditions (e.g., hypertension) and the area is of increasing interest for new drug development, as therapies that modulate the endothelium will have added advantages; thus, for the development of new/experimental drugs, an awareness of ways to assess the endothelium is necessary. In this review, an overview of different methods including biochemical markers, and invasive and non-invasive tools, to determine endothelial function is presented as well as their clinical relevance. Furthermore, the effects of various treatments on endothelial dysfunction and their underlying mechanisms are elucidated.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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