Invited Review

Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology

, Volume 459, Issue 6, pp 1005-1013

Human endothelial dysfunction: EDRFs

  • Andreas J. FlammerAffiliated withCardiovascular Center, Cardiology University Hospital Zurich
  • , Thomas F. LüscherAffiliated withCardiovascular Center, Cardiology University Hospital ZurichInstitute of Physiology, Cardiovascular Research, University Zürich-IrchelCardiology and Cardiovascular Physiology, University Hospital Zurich Email author 

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Since the detection of nitric oxide two and a half decades ago, there has been an incredible boost in endothelial function research, which is fascinating the research community. Physiologically, endothelial cells synthesize a number of vasoactive substances. In particular, several endothelium-derived relaxing factors (EDRFs) have been characterized, whereby nitric oxide is the most important. In humans, endothelial dysfunction is one of the first clinically detectable alterations in the development of atherosclerosis and is characterized by an imbalance in the release of vasoactive substances. Thus, it is the aim of this article to give an overview about endothelial function in humans, to summarize the different possibilities to assess endothelial function in this species, and to give an overview of the role of EDRFs in different cardiovascular diseases.


Endothelium Endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF) Nitric oxide Prostacyclin Endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor