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Biological Research

Print version ISSN 0716-9760

Abstract

CUEVAS, ADA M  and  GERMAIN, ALFREDO M. Diet and Endothelial Function. Biol. Res. [online]. 2004, vol.37, n.2, pp.225-230. ISSN 0716-9760.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0716-97602004000200008.

Endothelial dysfunction is one of the earliest events in atherogenesis. A consequence of endothelial damage is a lower availability of nitric oxide (NO), the most potent endogenous vasodilator. NO inhibits platelet aggregation, smooth muscle cell proliferation and adhesion of monocytes to endothelial cells. Endothelial dysfunction is present in patients with cardiovascular disease and/or coronary risk factors, such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, smoking or hyperhomocysteinemia. At present, soluble markers and high resolution ultrasound of the brachial artery, have provided simple tools for the study of endothelial function and the effects of several interventions. It has been demonstrated that dietary factors may induce significant changes on vascular reactivity. Nutrients, such as fish oil, antioxidants, L-arginine, folic acid and soy protein have shown an improvement in endothelial function that can mediate, at least partially, the cardioprotective effects of these substances. Attention has been focused on dietary patterns in populations with lower prevalence of cardiovascular disease. There is some evidence suggesting that Mediterranean diet characterized by high consumption of vegetables, fish, olive oil and moderate wine consumption may have a positive effect on endothelial function. These results give us evidence on the significant role of diet on endothelial function and its impact on the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis

Keywords : Diet; endothelial function; nitric oxide; vascular reactivity.

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