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Endothelium. 2004 Mar-Apr;11(2):123-32.

Endothelial function and oxidative stress.

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Vascular Medicine Research, Department of Medicine, Brigham, & Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Increased oxidative stress impairs endothelial function and is thought to mediate vascular disease. Several pathological conditions increase the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the vascular wall, including hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, and hypertension. These conditions are associated with endothelial dysfunction and cardiovascular disease. Thus, overall vascular function is dependent upon the balance of oxidant and antioxidant mechanisms, which determines endothelial function. Endothelial function is usually defined as nitric oxide (NO) production and/or bioavailability. Because ROS can interact and inactivate NO, vascular oxidative stress can lead to decrease NO bioavailability. This results in endothelial dysfunction and increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. Several pharmacological approaches have been used to improve endothelial function and decrease oxidative stress. These include treatment modalities that augment the antioxidant defense mechanisms, increase NO production, and inhibit ROS-generating enzymes. This review provides an overview of the relationship between endothelial function and oxidative stress.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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