The endothelium is the innermost layer of all blood and lymphatic vessels composed of a monolayer of specialized endothelial cells (ECs). It is regarded as a dynamic and multifunctional endocrine organ that takes part in essential processes, such as the control of blood fluidity, the modulation of vascular tone, the regulation of immune response and leukocyte trafficking into perivascular tissues, and angiogenesis. The inability of ECs to perform their normal biological functions, known as endothelial dysfunction, is multi-factorial; for instance, it implicates the failure of ECs to support the normal antithrombotic and anti-inflammatory status, resulting in the onset of unfavorable cardiovascular conditions such as atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, hypertension, heart problems, and other vascular pathologies. Notably, it is emerging that the ability of ECs to adapt their metabolic status to persistent changes of the tissue microenvironment could be vital for the maintenance of vascular functions and to prevent adverse vascular events. The main purpose of the present article is to shed light on the unique metabolic plasticity of ECs as a prospective therapeutic target; this may lead to the development of novel strategies for cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
- Endothelial dysfunction
- Vascular disease