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Revista médica de Chile

versão impressa ISSN 0034-9887


IRRIBARRA P, Verónica et al. Endothelial dysfunction as a primary alteration in vascular diseases. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2000, vol.128, n.6, pp.659-670. ISSN 0034-9887.

Endothelium controls vascular smooth muscle tone by secreting relaxing and contracting factors. There is a constant release of endothelium derived relaxing factors, mainly nitric oxide, a potent vasodilator, inhibitor of platelet aggregation, monocyte adhesion and smooth muscle proliferation. In addition, the endothelium may increase the release of NO in response to humoral stimulation by vasoactive substances such as acetylcholine, bradikinin or substance P. Although the endothelium releases a number of products, no single blood test has yet proved useful to determine normal endothelial function or as early abnormalities. The most useful test of endothelial function relies on the meassurement of endothelium-dependent dilatation in response to pharmacological or physiologic stimuli. The alteration of this response is known as endothelial dysfunction and has been observed in a variety of circumstances related to cardiovascular risk. This review summarizes the evidence that sustains this association and emphasizes the clinical utility of assessing endothelial function presenting two clinical cases of hypercholesterolemia in which a high-resolution vascular ultrasound in the braquial artery was used. (Rev Méd Chile 2000; 128: 659-70).

Palavras-chave : Endothelins; Endothelium-derived relaxing factor; Endothelium, vascular.

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