Effects of systemic inflammation on endothelium-dependent vasodilation.

Trends Cardiovasc Med. 2006 Jan;16(1):15-20.  

Huang AL, Vita JA.
Evans Department of Medicine and Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, USA. 

The importance of inflammation in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis is well established. The vascular endothelium contributes to and is affected by the inflammatory process. For example, a variety of cytokines have the ability to „activate“ the endothelium and thereby promote expression of adhesion molecules and chemotactic factors that accelerate the inflammatory process and direct accumulation of leukocytes to specific sites in the arterial tree. In experimental systems, activation of endothelial cells is also associated with a loss of the biologic activity of endothelium-derived nitric oxide, an effect that accelerates the inflammatory process and also promotes local thrombosis and impairs local control of vasomotor tone. Consistent with these experimental studies, recent studies have provided evidence that inflammation is associated with an impairment of nitric oxide-dependent responses in human subjects. This article will review the experimental and clinical studies that support the relevance of inflammation to nitric oxide bioactivity in human atherosclerosis.