Endothelial Function and Calcium Metabolism
The endothelium plays a crucial role in the regulation of the vessel wall under physiological and pathological conditions.1 The endothelium lines all vessels of the body and is the most important structure for communication between the blood stream and the vessel wall.2 One function is to act as a barrier that prevents noxious agents from entering the vessel wall. Other functions of healthy endothelium include antithrombotic properties that inhibit the adhesion of blood cells (thrombocytes, erythrocytes, and leukocytes) to the vessel wall. Hence, endothelial cells are crucial for maintaining laminar blood flow. A third function of the endothelium is a secretory function. Endothelial cells can release their secretory products into the vessel wall as well as into the blood stream. Of particular importance for the physiological function of the vessel wall is the vasorelaxing function of endothelial cells1 due to secretion of endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF).3 Under physiological conditions, EDRF is released permanently and ensures the patency of normal vessels.4 In addition, endothelial cells can release vasoconstrictive factors such as endothelin into the vessel wall.5,6 Furthermore, studies over recent years have identified growth factors and chemotactic substances which are produced by damaged or overstimulated endothelial cells and which play a crucial part in structural changes of the vessel wall.7,8
KeywordsVessel Wall Calcium Channel Blocker Calcium Antagonist Coronary Atherosclerosis Isosorbide Dinitrate
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