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Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 1997 Jan-Feb;39(4):287-324.

Endothelial dysfunction: clinical implications.

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  • 1University of Freiburg, Germany.


The endothelium is involved in the control of vascular tone and homeostasis. Risk factors for arteriosclerosis, as well as other conditions have been shown to be associated with a dysfunctional endothelium. Clinically, endothelial function and dysfunction have been mostly evaluated by the assessment of endothelial dependent relaxation, for example in response to acetylcholine or increase inflow. The functional implications of endothelial dysfunction in cardiovascular disease are not well defined, but recent clinical trials have suggested that endothelial dysfunction may affect vascular tone and organ perfusion particularly during stress situations such as exercise. Moreover, endothelial dysfunction may represent an early event in the development of arteriosclerosis. Therefore, recent clinical studies have been performed to restore normal endothelial function in patients, using interventions such as L-arginine, lipid lowering drugs, vitamin C, other antioxidants, or exercise.

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