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Annu Rev Pathol. 2006;1:171-98.

The endothelium as a target for infections.

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  • 1School of Medicine, Universidad de Los Andes, Bogota, Colombia.


The endothelial cells lining vascular and lymphatic vessels are targets of several infectious agents, including viruses and bacteria, that lead to dramatic changes in their functions. Understanding the pathophysiological mechanisms that cause the clinical manifestations of those infections has been advanced through the use of animal models and in vitro systems; however, there are also abundant studies that explore the consequences of endothelial infection in vitro without supporting evidence that endothelial cells are actual in vivo targets of infection in human diseases. This article defines criteria for considering an infection as truly endothelium-targeted and reviews the literature that offers insights into the pathogenesis of human endothelial-target infections.

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